AN opposition lawmaker said yesterday he will submit a formal complaint this week on behalf of more than 1,000 residents from four provinces requesting that the government cancel two economic land concessions in Prey Lang forest.
Men Sothavarin, a member of parliament from Kampong Thom province for the Sam Rainsy Party, said villagers from Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear, Kratie and Stung Treng provinces asked him to request intervention from Prime Minister Hun Sen in hopes of reversing concessions given to two
Vietnamese-owned companies, CRCK Rubber Development Co Ltd and PNT Company, for rubber plantations.
He said he would issue the letter this week once he knows the total number of people who have signed on to the complaint.
“1,500 people asked the Royal Government to withdraw the licence from the companies because people have lived on that land for a long time and they benefit from [Prey Lang],” Men Sothavarin said.
Chheang Vuthy, a Sandan district resident, said the government should reverse its concession and prevent the companies from clearing the forest.
“CRCK and PNT Company have cleared the people’s forest. People have business by taking resin from [Prey Lang]. If the forest is lost, where can people do business?” he said. “I would like to request the
government to stop the companies that have cleared the people’s forest.”
During a forum on Friday in Sandan district, government officials suggested residents submit a complaint expressing their concerns.
So Phearin, a villager from Preah Vihear province’s Rovieng district, said the companies had prevented locals from entering the forest over the past year.
“People’s livelihoods depend on taking resin but now the companies have prohibited us,” he said.
Uth Sam An, deputy Kampong Thom governor, said the concessions for CRCK and PNT Company were only in Sandan district and will not affect people in Preah Vihear, Kratie and Stung Treng provinces.
Moreover, he said, the company will bring work and economic benefits to locals.