Following an order from Prime Minister Hun Sen, Minister of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection Men Sam An on Wednesday visited the School of Hope, located on a 1ha plot in Preah Sihanouk province.
The school is facing relocation issues after the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation recently ordered it to move out within three months.
In December, the prime minister instructed the Ministry of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection to probe the matter and report back on any irregularities as he had received a complaint from the Supreme Consultation Council.
Ministry spokesperson Nop Channarin said on Wednesday that Sam An had met with the school director, local authorities and students. But he declined to say if ministry officials would meet with the social affairs ministry.
“When we finish the inspection, we will submit a report to the prime minister for him to make a decision,” Channarin said.
In August, Khmer Rise Party president Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung, who is a Council member, submitted a report to Hun Sen on the school’s predicament and sought the prime minister’s intervention in the matter.
On Tuesday, he told The Post that he welcomed the quick action taken by the Ministry of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection and that he would follow the case with interest.
“The ministry must solve the problem as pointed out by the government. I will try my best to protect this school. I have been doing so since I received its complaint,” he said.
Social affairs ministry spokesman Touch Channy said on Tuesday that his ministry also welcomed the investigation and was preparing documents to defend its decision.
He said the relocation order had been revoked but the land was not to be sold as per the accusation by some parties.
“My ministry is not too concerned about the investigation as we have enough documentation and have prepared our reports with [a land] title and clear reasons.
“The government has ordered the Ministry of National Assembly-Senate Relation and Inspection to check the place. We also want to see the report and determination of which side is right and wrong,” Channy said.
He said the government had to decide after the inspection if it wanted to hand over the land to the school or otherwise.
School of Hope principal Phum Narith told The Post recently that it had been located on about 1.5ha since 2002. But the social affairs ministry told its director, who was a foreign national and unable to speak Khmer, to sign on a document written in the language.
The document told the school to sell the land.
The School of Hope is a branch of the Assemblies of God (NGO) which has been operating in Preah Sihanouk for some 20 years. It has accommodated and provided education to about 70,000 students and 50 teachers thus far.