Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM’s market nationalisation plan to give vendors stall rights in perpetuity

PM’s market nationalisation plan to give vendors stall rights in perpetuity

Prime Minister Hun Sen last week walks through the Phsar Leu market in Kampong Chhnang province, where he promised vendors that rent would be abolished within 10 years. Facebook
Prime Minister Hun Sen last week walks through the Phsar Leu market in Kampong Chhnang province, where he promised vendors that rent would be abolished within 10 years. Facebook

PM’s market nationalisation plan to give vendors stall rights in perpetuity

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday declared all markets in Cambodia run by private operators on the state’s behalf will be nationalised when their respective contracts end, a move he says will grant vendors a secure future.

In the latest sweeping policy move revealed on Facebook, the premier unveiled a sub-decree on the “management of markets throughout the country”.

The document extends a decision made by Hun Sen last week for vendors at Kampong Chhnang’s Phsar Leu market – where he vowed the state would take over and abolish rent in 2025 – to plazas across the entire country.

Currently on a whistle-stop tour to “solve” problems, the premier said many market traders had expressed concerns about their ownership rights and, worried about losing their stalls when contracts ended, had asked him to step in.

“It’s better to extinguish the fire than trying to disperse the smoke and to protect the rights of vendors for their next generation, to avoid bad people cheating,” wrote the premier, who called on vendors to post the edict on their stalls to avoid being cheated.

“Through this directive, the vendors will have rights for their next generation without a set date and do not have to ask for a delay of [new contracts].”

The sub-decree vests those currently trading at state-owned markets with ownership rights in perpetuity to their stalls, which can be transferred to family members or sold on.

Markets built and run by private investors on state land – or those developed by concessionaires on private land who are obligated to return the infrastructure to the state – must also respect these new protections and not evict tenants.

However, the sub-decree says vendors under private companies must continue paying their agreed-upon rent with the firm until the current contracts finish.

Once the state takes over, vendors will no longer pay rent but only state dues such as taxes, government spokesman Pay Siphan said yesterday.

“After the term of the contract with the government, when it’s over, the tenants don’t need to pay any more additional costs except state dues,” Siphan said.

Political analyst Ou Virak said the move was clearly a populist ploy, which would likely be well received among the Kingdom’s thousands of vendors.

Though noting that market operators had generally not bid for their contracts in the first place, Virak said state management may not be the best long-term option. “I don’t know how it will go in the long term and whether it will be managed properly, that could be a problem.

“It might not be sustainable . . . but maybe [Hun Sen] only cares about the short run, the next two years.”

Kampong Chhnang provincial governor Chhour Chandoeun, however, rejected the notion the announcement was in any way political.

“It’s not about gaining votes in upcoming elections, but people voted for the CPP, so the government under the ruling party must take care of people.”

Additional reporting by Shaun Turton

MOST VIEWED

  • All Covid restrictions for inbound travellers lifted

    Cambodia has apparently taken the final step towards full reopening of the country without Covid-19 restrictions by removing all requirements for inbound travellers, who until now had to show health certificates indicating that they have tested Covid-19 negative in the past 72 hours as well as

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Cambodia stands firm on 5PC: No invite for Myanmar to ASEAN Summit this year

    Cambodia has not invited Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of Myanmar’s ruling State Administration Council (SAC), to the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and related meetings scheduled for next month in Phnom Penh. The government will instead invite a non-political representative from Myanmar

  • Mushrooming borey projects and home financing – a cause for concern?

    A spurt in housing developments is typically a sign of a growing economy but underneath all that might lay some anxiety of credit growth as developers offer financing to buyers at higher rates, an activity the central bank identifies as ‘shadow banking’ Earlier this year,

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They

  • Scholarship winner tells secrets to success

    Chhim Chaknineath was awarded the Chevening Scholarship for one year of postgraduate study in the UK for the academic year 2022-2023 along with a group of 10 other outstanding students who applied. She spent more than a year researching and studying – as well as consulting with