Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his regret over the fire that broke out at the compound of the Royal Residence in Siem Reap town, which torched the interior of one building. He announced they would undertake the complete renovation of the building no matter how much the cost.
“Now the big problem is that we have to rush to renovate the building. I permitted this renovation on the first day after the fire at the request of Minister of the Royal Palace Kong Sam Ol. We won’t just fix the building that was burned, partially or fully, but everywhere, and we regret this problem occurred,” he said at the March 16 graduation ceremony of over 4,000 students of Build Bright University held at Koh Pich Convention and Exhibition Centre.
He also urged Sam Ol to speed up the renovation and complete it as soon as possible.
“Don’t be concerned over money, no matter how much it costs. We have to renovate this Royal Residence where the late King Father lived and led the autonomous zone and used the zone as the resistance base to gain independence from France,” he said.
Hun Sen said that some anti-government individuals who are living overseas accused the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and the government alike of committing the arson. The prime minister dismissed the accusation, saying that it was baseless and he also called on the public not to make wild and untrue interpretations of events.
“The Royal Residence just burned by accident. Nothing more than that. Those individuals overseas interpreted that this was a setup of the CPP and the government.
He said that government officials often worried about the catastrophic fires from electrical faults that happened frequently.
“That day, I was continually monitoring the situation with the provincial governor online. Before 5am, Minister Kong Sam Ol contacted me to request a helicopter for him to go there, because I am not well-versed in the matters of the Royal Palace, only the minister knows enough about it, so he went to Siem Reap and came back to propose the renovation project ,” Hun Sen stated.
He also called for the public to pay more attention to the problem of fires and electrical faults, especially until the rainy season arrives, as fires spread more quickly in the dry season.
Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk issued a March 14 message expressing profound thanks to her subjects and to foreigners who expressed their condolences for the fire.
She also thanked the leadership, including the prime minister, Minister Kong Sam Ol, local authorities, the provincial council, members of the armed forces and firefighters for their immediate intervention.