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Sar Kheng addresses land rows in Kingdom

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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng delivers a speech on Tuesday at a meeting on road safety results during the first six months of the year. Sar Kheng Facebook

Sar Kheng addresses land rows in Kingdom

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng has told officials to prepare a master plan for land management in the Kingdom, especially in economic centres.

He expressed concern that land issues will be complicated in future, especially disputes among high-ranking officials.

Sar Kheng gave his instructions on Tuesday at a meeting on road safety results during the first six months of the year.

He told the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction to prepare specific land titles in some areas to prevent future difficulties.

“Land management units have prepared master plans for some areas. If we do not think about it now, it will be complicated in the future.

“I raise the example of Preah Sihanouk, which is an economic centre. Some people encroached on land and the issues have yet to be tackled. They all have high positions. I do not know how high, I only know they have high positions,” he said.

He said while he did not have any land in Mondulkiri province, powerful people have competed with one another to occupy land there.

“There are a lot of people competing to take land. I am the one who feels the problem. I am the one to suffer consequences, waiting to deal with the problems. Honestly, this is the issue,” he said.

On Wednesday, Sar Kheng sent a letter to all governors in the country to encourage them to prevent land encroachment in protected areas.

Administrations under the national level must prevent land stealing which will cause land disputes, he said.

“We have to observe and manage all situations related to land in protected areas. It is a serious ban on new forest land or state land stealing. We must use administrative measures and legal measures thoroughly,” he said.

The ministry also said local authorities must confirm or properly sign on related documents concerning land ownership in line with existing laws.

On July 3, Prime Minister Hun Sen instructed three ministries and provincial authorities to allocate and provide ownership certificates to citizens who have occupied protected land for a long time.

Am Sam Ath, the deputy director of monitoring at Licadho, applauded the government’s efforts to tackle land disputes.

“Preparing a master plan in those areas also can reduce land disputes. Ordinary citizens are not able to encroach on thousands of hectares while the rich and powerful people can,” he said.

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