The Phnom Penh Municipal Hall on Tuesday gave one month’s notice for businesses to stop street and public sidewalk violations or they will face closure, suspension and legal action.
Civil society groups responded by saying the new directive was nothing new and will be very difficult to enforce.
Municipal Hall guidelines aim to prevent pavement or public sidewalk violations throughout the city.
“Residents who are the house owners, business owners, construction site managers, hospital managers, and public facilities, private sectors and all road users must adjust and re-arrange their occupied locations accurately in accordance with the content of this guidance, avoid stopping or parking on the prohibited locations, such as on the pavement and sidewalk which are reserved for pedestrians,” it read.
The statement added that construction owners or managers must not block more than one-third of the road, or keep their construction materials – such as iron bars, sand, stone or gravel – on the street. While those arranging goods for sale or display – like on motorbikes, cars or tents – must not exceed one-third of the sidewalk.
From July 1 onwards, Phnom Penh authorities will also prohibit all types of festivals and wedding halls on streets, requiring people to find a suitable place to hold such events in private locations.
Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng told The Post on Wednesday that authorities in the capital’s 12 districts have already begun their preparations for the new decree.
“We are counting the month from the day we made the announcement [January 22] and the 12 districts authorities have begun making records of where the public sidewalk and street violations occur,” he said.
However, the notice states that the sidewalk still can be used for some activities such as performing traffic activities on foot or performing cultural activities, sports, exhibitions and other celebrations, but permission must first be sought from the authorities.
Institute for Road Safety deputy director Kong Ratanak said this guideline was nothing new and the implementation of similar laws in the past has proven unsuccessful, adding that in order to stop sidewalk violations, the authorities should find other locations for them to run their businesses.
“In the past, we have seen similar guidelines. I will applaud if the municipal hall is successful, but through past experience, we have hardly seen sidewalk violations decrease,” he said.