Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers urge for removal of inactive official in Prey Veng



Villagers urge for removal of inactive official in Prey Veng

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Villagers claim senior Ministry of Civil Service official Chham Chhan colluded with his relatives to take over state canals spanning nearly 3km and built by a wealthy man, Pen Nuon, for his gain. supplied

Villagers urge for removal of inactive official in Prey Veng

A group made up of 514 families living in Russey Srok commune in Peam Chor district, Prey Veng province has called on Minister of Interior Sar Kheng to replace Hang Chham Chhan, a senior official of the Ministry of Civil Service from a joint working group to help the commune.

They claim that Chham Chhan hadn’t done anything useful for them.

Leng Samoeur, one of nine commune representatives, told The Post on Sunday that the families from Pen, Tapoung, Ith and Chheur Teal villages had called on the minister to fire the official.

She said several years have passed since Chham Chhan had arrived at the commune and he has only caused problems for the residents.

They claim he colluded with his relatives to take over state canals spanning nearly 3km and built by a wealthy man, Pen Nuon, for his gain. Residents said they are now required to pay 450,000 riel ($110) for each hectare of their paddy fields.

“We filed a complaint with the Ministry of Interior in November last year, but the complaint has still not been addressed. We filed a complaint with the Prey Veng provincial hall and the court, but nothing was solved. We appeal to [the interior minister] to solve this problem,” she said.

Dam Mean, another representative, said on Sunday that the three canals that were managed by the authorities to sell water to residents had been donated by Nuon, an adviser to Kheng.

The three canals were dug and built in 2014. But the authorities took the canals, requiring them to pay 200,000 riel if they wanted to pump water into the paddy fields or irrigate crops.

He said that in 2017, the authorities raised the price to 300,000 riel. Last year, they raised it to 450,000 riel.

“I just wonder if the canals belong to the state. The authorities instead took them for their gain and they sell canal water.

If any resident wants to pump water into the paddy fields or irrigate crops they have to spend 450,000 riel.

“If they have no money to give the authorities, they give 180kg of rice instead. Without money or rice being given to the authorities, residents have no opportunity to pump this water for use,” he said.

Russey Srok commune chief Nuon Meng said on Sunday that the problem of the canals could not yet be solved because residents had not accepted a solution offered by the authorities. However, Peam Chor district and provincial authorities would go there to coordinate and find another solution.

He said he was made aware of the complaint against Chham Chhan with the Ministry of Interior in November last year, and representatives from the ministry had gone there to investigate the case, but a solution has not been found.

“On Monday, I hope the authorities will find a solution for residents because they need water to cultivate rice. Several hectares of paddy fields are being affected without water. I have coordinated it on several occasions, but they don’t listen to me. So, let the top-level people solve the case,” he said.

Chham Chhan denied the accusations on Sunday, saying they had distorted the facts and that it was a baseless claim. He said he had not engaged in raising the price. He said he is only a coordinator and an adviser along with the authorities.

“I don’t take issue with the [514 families] over wanting me removed from my position or stopping me from working to help Russey Srok commune if approved by [Prime Minister] Hun Sen.

“If he is not satisfied with my work, I will follow the recommendations accordingly. Two or three residents are behind this and the others have no problems with me,” he claimed.

MOST VIEWED

  • 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

  • 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

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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