THE Phnom Penh Municipality has ordered all restaurants along Norodom Blvd to be
closed down by the end of June.
Phnom Penh's first deputy governor, Chea Sophara, said it was a matter of prestige
that the nation's main street should not be clogged up with cars parked illegally
"It is a very important street and it is related to the credit of our nation,"
"Diplomats and officials are going on that street so we have to keep it in order."
The move has been condemned by restaurant owners, who say it is unfair, arbitrary,
and will put some of them out of business.
Gerassimos Fourlanos, manager of the Athena Restaurant, said that he will have to
shut down his business because he has not been given enough time to find new premises
and the costs of moving are too high.
He said more than ten restaurants that he knows of will go out of business, and more
than 200 staff will lose their jobs "and will be plunged into immediate unemployment
He said the municipality never officially notified him about the decree and he only
found out from his suppliers and neighboring businesses.
He said the order was signed on May 28 but he only found out about it on June 10.
He said the way the whole matter had been handled had been "completely unreasonable".
"Destroying business and employment opportunities just because of the megalomania
of some politicians is really something that the donors of Cambodia should know,"
No compensation will be paid to businesses which lose out because of the policy.
Chea Sophara said there was no obligation to hand over any money because once the
order came into effect the businesses would be acting illegally.