Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sokha called out over sanitation comments



Sokha called out over sanitation comments

Phnom Penh Governor Pa Socheatvong speaks at an event yesterday in the Phnom Penh's Chroy Changvar district.
Phnom Penh Governor Pa Socheatvong speaks at an event yesterday in the Phnom Penh's Chroy Changvar district. Heng Chivoan

Sokha called out over sanitation comments

Phnom Penh’s governor lashed out at CNRP President Kem Sokha’s criticism of the lack of improved sanitation in Cambodia yesterday, accusing the opposition leader of being too busy with his alleged “mistress” to be aware of development in the Kingdom.

“Now there is some politician abroad saying that in Phnom Penh there aren’t public toilets and accusing Phnom Penh of lacking development,” said Governor Pa Socheatvong during a speech to students and civil servants at the inauguration of the Chroy Changvar administrative office.

“He does not know about the city and what the city is doing. He is busy with his mistress and has no time to see the city,” Socheatvong added.

Sokha’s comments were made in Seattle during a tour of the United States earlier this week, and an audio clip was published online by pro-government news source Fresh News on Monday.

Despite Socheatvong’s pointed response, Sokha did not mention the sanitation situation in the city in the portion of the recording published by Fresh News, instead speaking about the conditions in rural areas outside Phnom Penh.

“There are no toilets in homes,” Sokha said, adding that travellers must relieve themselves in fields on the side of the road during long journeys.“My brothers and sisters suffer greatly from this and I cannot let the country be like this,” Sokha added.

But Socheatvong seemed to take the CNRP president’s statement as a slight on the city, going on to accuse the CNRP in general of “illegal incitement”, bribery and attempting to undermine government achievements.

“If we make the right decision, there will be development, peace and stability, but if we make the wrong decision, the country will have problems,” the governor concluded, repeating the CPP’s campaign mantra that its continued hold on power translates to security.

CNRP lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang refused to respond to the attack on Sokha, but said the sanitation conditions in Cambodia speak for themselves.

“We have seen that this is a challenge . . . it is disgusting for people to have to defecate in the bushes,” Eang said.

Geoff Revell, program director for sanitation NGO WaterSHED, said open defecation is still a major problem, with ramifications on health, the economy and human dignity.

He added that while urban coverage in Phnom Penh is high, “very very little of [the waste] is treated and managed safely”.

Additional reporting by Andrew Nachemson

A previous version of this story misstated the title of Geoff Revell. He is program director for WaterSHED, not country director. The Post apologises for any confusion caused.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants