Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - White Building residents beginning to seek action after being left in the dark



White Building residents beginning to seek action after being left in the dark

White Building residents beginning to seek action after being left in the dark

Up until this week, people living in the establishment continue to claim that the official news regarding the plan to develop the iconic White Building residence remains an enigma.

The building rests in one of the most prime locations in Phnom Penh, and whose development plan rumours are frequently dispersed. As the ministry claims to be doing everything in its power to accelerate the comprehensive researching process, the minister released in dribs and drabs the identity of the investment company to be a Japanese company by the name of Arakawa.

Seng Loth, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction (MLMUPC) said yesterday that the plan is “still in the stage of comprehensive study in order to develop the old and worn-out building. What we worry about is risking the livelihood of the building’s residents, that’s why a thorough research and study is needed to find solutions to possible problems together.”

The parties involved in this project are “from Japan – they are an investment company and had asked our ministry to lead the comprehensive research in order to figure out the development capacity of the location,” according to Loth.

Nonetheless, he refused to shed any light on the duration of the research, only claiming that “we are trying to accelerate the process.”

Chea Sophara, senior minister and the minister of the MLMUPC, said yesterday via his official Facebook page: “Today, I and my associates, including a representative from Phnom Penh City Hall met with the Japanese company Arakawa to discuss matters regarding the development project of the White Building in order to propose for advice from the Cambodian government.”

A group of elderly women idling and knitting on a hammock at a staircase within the White Building remained nonchalant when speaking to Post Property: “Before Pchum Ben, I had heard rumors about an NGO that wanted to develop the building.”

One continued, “But we were not informed by any government agent, NGO or company about any of their activities.”

“If I have to exchange [this house for money], it would have to be at least $70,000 because the other houses are way too expensive, and it is convenient living here.”

Another resident of about 60 years old, living in a two-bedroom complex on the building’s first floor had publicly requested for the authorities and the NGOs, including the investors, to hold a public forum to directly discuss the matters over together with the residents. In his opinion, “authorities and parties involved should come and speak directly with us, the very people who have lived in this place for about 30 years. They shouldn’t obscure any information from us.”

He continued, “We, the residents of the building, are afraid they might alter the number of actual residents living here. Therefore, the number keeps increasing and in the end, we become the victims.”

Sea Phearum, director of the Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF), who has worked closely for many years with the people in the White Building community said, “Indeed, the living standard of the residents in the White Building is immensely lower than the poverty living standard set by the United Nations.”

Phearum added, “Right now the officials from the HRTF Force aren’t allowed to go in and out of the building as freely as before.” There were disturbances from the basic authorities set up by the ministry, prohibiting NGOs from entering the building.

To date, the HRTF have been given estimates by the residents that there are approximately 600 families living in the White Building.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • 'Pandora Papers' expose leaders' offshore millions

    More than a dozen heads of state and government, from Jordan to Azerbaijan, Kenya and the Czech Republic, have used offshore tax havens to hide assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a far-reaching new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (