Minister of Interior Sar Kheng reiterated his call for local authorities to effectively, transparently, and fairly address challenges, particularly land disputes within their jurisdictions. This plea aims to reduce conflicts in the society.

At the inauguration ceremony of a new temple in Boeung Dorl commune, Preah Sdach district, Prey Veng province last week, Sar Kheng emphasised the need for local authorities to prioritise the transparent resolution of land disputes.

“We are committed to resolving the remaining challenges, such as the number of land disputes in Boeung Dorl commune. We must address these disputes with justice and transparency. Despite having experienced war throughout our lives, we must find solutions for such disputes,” he stated.

Sar Kheng stressed when authorities adhere to the principles of justice, all disputes can be resolved. However, he emphasised the issue persists because authorities tend to take sides, compromising the impartiality required for a fair resolution.

Continuing the discussion on reform, Sar Kheng highlighted the issue of safety at various locations. He mentioned the implementation of the “safe village-commune” policy, which encompasses the elimination of theft, robbery, drugs, gangsters, environmental concerns, human trafficking (particularly involving women and children), and traffic-related issues.

Am Sam Ath, deputy director at the rights group LICADHO, commended the interior minister’s renewed focus on resolving disputes, including land disputes, at the local level. However, he observed the implementation by authorities often falls short of the leader’s recommendations.

“Clearly, there is a mechanism for resolving land disputes. What matters is the willingness of authorities to fulfil their duties in resolving them. Both Prime Minister Hun Sen and interior minister Sar Kheng have consistently reminded and warned local authorities to address land issues for the people,” Sam Ath remarked.

According to Sar Kheng, the safe village and commune policy has yielded positive results. Over the past five years, theft and robbery offences have decreased by 11 per cent, with a 90 per cent suppression rate indicating significant success.

He attributed this achievement to the ability of the police, emphasising the importance of support and participation from the public.

Encouraged by these outcomes, Sar Kheng urged all stakeholders to continue supporting the safe village and commune policy.

He emphasised providing public services to the people, which includes ensuring security, is a shared responsibility.

“All ministries and administrative institutions at every level have to deliver transparent and reliable public services to the people,” he concluded.