Prime Minister Hun Manet has instructed the Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities to maintain security and protect public order and to pay particular attention to popular tourist destinations and industrial areas, noting that this will contribute to attracting visitors and investors.

Manet met with over 15,000 workers from factories in the province’s Cambodian Zhejiang Guoji Special Economic Zone on November 7.

“No one will ever want to visit a beach if they are told that when they come, they need to be wary of shootings, pickpockets or muggers,” he said.

He added that while the province has developed its infrastructure, to be meaningful, it must be used.

Manet noted that the provincial administration and the National Committee for Coastal Management and Development have carried out a lot of excellent work, while the government has invested millions of dollars in road infrastructure, including the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway. Many jobs have been created.

“The beaches are beautifully maintained and people can now travel to Sihanoukville from Phnom Penh [in roughly two hours], and return on the same day.

“Therefore, we need to guarantee their security, regardless if they are domestic visitors or tourists from abroad. Even people who are offered employment here won’t come if they feel insecure,” he said.

“We must strengthen public security. Authorities at all levels, including the provincial police and the Military Police, as well as the armed forces, need to ensure the stability and security of our people,” he added.

Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said on November 7 that security in all parts of the Kingdom, as well as at international checkpoints, needs to be reinforced, not just in Preah Sihanouk province. He also reiterated that the province needs to apply Cambodian immigration law to all people of all nationalities without exception, to guarantee the safety of tourists and local Cambodians alike.

He added that if any part of the Kingdom was found to have any security issues – whether because of thefts, a drug problem or illegal online gambling – Cambodia’s reputation could suffer, and tourists and investors may hesitate to come here.

“I believe that first of all, we need to apply the law equally, to eliminate a culture of intervening in some people’s legal cases. Second, we need to censor media coverage of the Kingdom, in order to ensure it promotes Cambodia as an attractive destination, rather than thefts or other crimes,” he said.

“Finally, we need to conduct thorough inspections of the providers of tourist goods and services. If we strive to make sure people are safe but cannot offer them quality tourism experiences, why would they come here? It is important that we carry out these three steps in unison,” he added.

He believed that it was the time for the government to enact deep practical reforms, and not just on paper.

“As the prime minister made clear yesterday, reforms cannot be purely theoretical. They must be put into practice if we want to see tangible results in the interests of the nation that stimulate our economy. If we are not committed to these reforms, the economy will deteriorate,” he added.