Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Shocking development



Shocking development

Shocking development

It is hard to believe that it is possible that a government in which so many

suffered as victims of the Pol Pot regime could possibly tolerate the Killing

Fields memorial being turned over to a commercial Japanese company.

Like

many Khmer and foreign friends of Cambodia, I am shocked that a key figure in

the Council of Ministers has admitted to trading in one of the nation's most

important and sacred sites - the Killing Fields memorial site of Choueng

Ek.

Once the Khmer Rouge Tribunal kicks off, all the international judges

and lawyers will naturally visit Choueng Ek in the course of their duties. But

will they now be greeted by a sign such as "Welcome to Killing Fields Glorious

Tourism Development Site - Now under Japanese Management"!

If you can do

this to Choueng Ek, where next for privatization and foreign investment in the

national patrimony? Tuol Sleng, the National Museum or even the Royal Palace?

If this squalid deal goes through, future historians will not look

kindly on those who licensed Cambodian heritage to an obscure Japanese company

for the sake of a few dollars. Other countries would not even dream about

abdicating their responsibility to the public to look after war memorials, grave

sites, and museums. The protection and conservation of historic sites are among

the prime responsibilities of a responsible government.

Prime Minister

Hun Sen in Paris Peace negotiations in 1989, referring to a proposal backed by

many countries that the Cambodian government should accept the Khmer Rouge

inside a four-party coalition, called the idea an "insult to the memory of those

who died in the Killing Fields."

He firmly rejected that "insult" and

successively kept the Khmer Rouge out of government. We hope that he will also

reject this newest insult to the souls of those who were brutally dispatched at

Choueng Ek.

As the prime minister must surely know, any additional funds

needed for the upkeep of the Killing Fields can be found from many sources,

without sacrificing Cambodian national pride and sovereignty.

Tom

Fawthrop

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with

  • Cambodia, India agree to start direct flights, tourism exchanges

    Cambodia and India have agreed to start direct flight connections and promote closer tourism exchanges and cooperation in all areas after the Covid-19 saga comes to a close. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon and newly-minted Indian

  • Plastic-to-rice initiative transforms waste into bricks

    Volunteers in Kampong Khlaing commune of Siem Reap province’s Sotr Nikum district have been collecting plastic waste to use as a raw material for the production of bricks and clemence tiles. The volunteers are hoping that, in addition to helping clean up the environment,