Minister of Interior Sar Kheng identified strengthening security, restoring infrastructure, inspection of building standards, preventing sewage emissions into the sea and solving land disputes as key ongoing issues in Preah Sihanouk province.
On Saturday, he urged the relevant ministries and the newly appointed provincial governor to collaborate to work on solutions.
Speaking at new provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun’s inauguration ceremony, Sar Kheng, who is also deputy prime minister, said land disputes continued to be a problem and the issue had to be solved without resorting to violence.
Regarding building standards, Sar Kheng said safety, quality and technical standards at construction sites and running businesses were to be inspected following the recent building collapse that killed 28 people and injured another 26.
“Special heed needs to be taken and building safety and fire issues need to be examined,” he said.
He also referred to security on the Koh Rong islands, saying tourists numbers continue to rise.
In order to ensure the safety of tourists, Sar Kheng said the authorities must strengthen their security measures. The police force should be deployed to guard the islands, along with backup units that can quickly intervene when incidents occur.
With regard to road infrastructure, he said that because of the province’s rapid development and as many roads were still narrow, some locations suffered damage. However, he said that this issue was currently being considered by the national government.
Addressing the sewage issue, Sar Kheng said the relevant ministries, including those of the Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction; Public Works and Transport; Environment; and Water Resources and Meteorology, would work together to resolve the issue.
“The protection of our coastal waters is the first and most important task. If this battle is lost, there will be no investment or tourists anymore. We must all share the same approach and be united in our work."
“Not all investment is good. Some investors do not act properly, so we welcome good investors and tourists who abide by Cambodian laws,” he said.
Sar Kheng also laid out plans to strengthen security and public order in the province.
He emphasised initial measures to promote comprehensive educational outreach to all relevant stakeholders in order to raise awareness of laws and regulations and ensure security and order for business investment and tourism.
He proposed that measures be introduced to strengthen security and public order to prevent all forms of national and transnational crime so as to create a peaceful environment in the province.
New provincial governor Chamroeun vowed at his inauguration ceremony to fulfil the task of improving the province’s development.
“In response to the support and faith entrusted in me, I commit to strictly abide by the constitution, the law and government directive,” he said.
Chamroeun said he would strive to provide principled and transparent leadership in carrying out the task of heading the sub-national administration.
“I continue with my efforts to eliminate any inaction affecting provincial residents and to improve living conditions and reduce poverty in accordance with the policies of the Royal Government – and particularly Samdech Techo’s [Hun Sen’s] instruction to enforce the law without exception,” he said.
Cambodian National Research Organisation director Sok Sokhom said Sar Kheng was demanding that the entire leadership of Preah Sihanouk province be united to address the pressing issues and obtain better results.
“No leader wants accidents to happen. But to avoid such cases, the provincial leadership must properly and seriously implement the correct legal procedures. So think together, act together and solve the issues together for the sake of the province,” Sokhom said.
He suggested there had been loopholes under outgoing governor Yun Min and expressed hope that the new governor would tighten law enforcement to prevent future problems.