The Ministry of Public Works and Transportation in an announcement yesterday warned that action would be taken against those who illegally construct on the shoulders of, or fill in canals along, National Road 4 between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.
“The involved authorities will take tough measures on the people who construct buildings, or fill up the canal without permission from the authority,” the ministry statement read.
Social development researcher Kem Ley, who has recently also become involved in grassroots politics, said that the ministry should inform the local authorities in advance before allowing construction along the road, and maintained that rather than locals, it was officials who should bear the responsibility for haphazard construction.
“The person who allows a big building to be constructed is the one who signs before the measurement, and that person is the village chief; therefore, if the village chief allowed the building to be built, we have to check the documents and send him to jail if it is built on public land,” he said, adding, however, that local authorities should be given management authority nonetheless.
A spokesman from the ministry could not be reached for comment yesterday.