Prime Minister Hun Sen has created a committee tasked with monitoring Koh Kong SEZ Co Ltd’s development of Koh Kong Krao island in Koh Kong province’s Koh Kapi commune.
The Council of Ministers first announced the development project on June 14, 2019, according to Hun Sen’s announcement on June 4.
There will be 10 committee members tasked with assessing Koh Kong Krao. Minister of Environment Say Sam Al will be the committee director.
Minister attached to the Prime Minister and secretary-general of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) Sok Chenda Sophea will be appointed the committee’s deputy director, said the announcement.
“This committee is responsible for checking Koh Kong SEZ Co Ltd’s whole plan for Koh Kong Krao’s development,” it said.
Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said on Sunday that he could not comment on the matter.
According to a ministry press conference on June 3, the government has been focusing on protecting and conserving the Koh Kong Krao area by sending experts to investigate and prepare documents and data since 2016.
The ministry plans to convert Koh Krong Krao into a marine national park in 2021 because it is a natural area rich in biodiversity and beautiful beaches.
On June 1, 10 youths took off on their bicycles from Koh Kong bound for Phnom Penh in an attempt to petition the government to designate Koh Kong Krao as a protected area by law.
But when they reached Trapaing Roung commune on June 2, provincial authorities stopped them and seized their bicycles.
A youth who joined the “Rescue Koh Krong Krao” bike ride, Suon Chamroeun, told The Post on Sunday that his team had concern and doubt about the government’s decision to grant the island to a private company for development.
Chamroeun said it is still uncertain what measures the government and the ministry will implement to protect the island.
He said: “We are still concerned because, in our mind, development means destruction. It is a concern we have for the future because Koh Kong SEZ Co Ltd’s specific plan is still blurry.”
He said activists will continue to fight for measures to be implemented to protect the area.