Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM: Preserve buildings more than 50 years old

PM: Preserve buildings more than 50 years old

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The French colonial-era bridge built 103 years ago over Stung Sangke River in Battambang province. Photo supplied

PM: Preserve buildings more than 50 years old

Prime Minister Hun Sen announced on Thursday that buildings over 50 years old must be preserved for future generations and called for a French colonial-era bridge in Battambang to be saved from demolition.

He made the remarks at the graduation ceremony for 2,790 Royal University of Law and Economics students at the National Institute of Education on Thursday.

“It was a surprise that there were plans to demolish the French colonial-era bridge in Battambang. It was big on social media. I would like to state that we must try to preserve what has been standing for more than 50 years.

“This is an achievement, so why should they be demolished? We must try to preserve and repair such buildings, and do whatever we can to save them,” Hun Sen said.

On December 13, the Battambang provincial administration suspended traffic on the bridge over the Sangkae River, saying it could no longer be used as it was cracked and unsafe.

On December 18, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona sent a letter objecting to the provincial administration’s plans to demolish the bridge in Battambang town’s Svay Por commune. After a backlash, the administration decided to keep the bridge.

“The Battambang provincial authorities just said that to avoid danger to residents, it must do whatever it could to stop people using the unsafe bridge. But instead of replacing it, we should build a new bridge nearby,” Hun Sen said.

The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts said the bridge had been built during the French colonial period and was the only remnant of its kind in Battambang from that time which carries such historical, architectural, urban and environmental value.

During its 103 years, it had been used by heavy vehicles, with tanks even crossing it during the civil war, leading to its state of disrepair.

Nara Institute archaeologist Sok Keo Sovannara told The Post on Thursday that while many French colonial-era buildings had been preserved – with most in Phnom Penh, Battambang and Siem Reap – many had also been demolished.

He said Cambodia had to remember and learn from that period, and future generations would now be able to see part of its legacy and understand the motivations behind colonialism.

The archaeologist hailed the preservation of the bridge in Battambang as its construction had been the first to differ from the methods used during the Angkor period. The bridge had been constructed with what was then sophisticated technology.

“It is very good that Prime Minister Hun Sen has recommended that buildings over 50 years old should be preserved because in previous years we lost many historical buildings in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang,” Keo Sovannara said.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42