Tboung Khmum province remains quiet since its breakaway from Kampong Cham province in 2013.
The Mai Sak forest is still as dense as ever as no private firms or residents seem to be jumping at the chance to develop the province.
The provincial capital Tboung Khmum is located in Sralob district and is at the intersection of three districts – Tboung Khmum district, Panhea Krek district, and Tom Pae district.
Prach Chan, governor of Tboung Khmum, told Post Property that currently, the construction of the province’s infrastructure is nearly complete, with the administration building and bureaus around the province to be completed by the end of the first trimester of next year.
Due to the rainy season, the construction of the road diverging from National Road 7 and cutting through the provincial capital will only be ready at the start of 2017.
He continued, “There are still no residents in the provincial capital, because the clean water system and the electricity networks haven’t been established yet. Also, there are still no private firms looking to develop the space.”
“The reason no private firms want to develop the provincial capital cannot be because of the land value, because compared to other provinces, the land value here isn’t expensive at all.”
Nevertheless, Heng Samrin University, located right in the provincial capital, has been operating since February, and has 80 students attending the school in spite of the initial intake plan of 200 students.
“I think that when the 300 provincial officials move to work in the administration building in the provincial capital, there will be people relocating there as well. The province will start projects that will bring factories and enterprises to this region in the future,” Chan said.
The young province is slowly moving along in establishing itself, having identified a ‘Kosalapheach’ – an ancient archaeological artefact associated with the red dirt exclusive to the province – and drawing up a construction plan for a statue representing this symbol. Albeit, the capital of the new province is still without a name.
Noun Rithy, CEO of Khmer Foundation Appraisal, said private firms will only come into play after the completion of the administration building. From what he has gathered, there are some local firms interested in investing in this new provincial capital because many moguls have purchased land property there.
He added, “What is important right now is to organise public services such as parking spaces, security, and a commercial area to appeal to potential residents.”
Converting Mai Sak forest and rice fields into a city is no easy feat, according to Rithy. He suggested the government implement an initiative to build public housing, which would include the option of a long-term installation plan.
The city is 2,000 hectares in the first stage of the main development plan, under a design planned by Peng Hong Socheat Khemro, general director of the housing department of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction.
Socheat Khemro said that having $1 billion worth of infrastructure within the provincial capital was a huge attraction for the new city; drawing many people to live in the city.
“The government encourages private firms that are interested in investing in the new capital as well as other provinces,” he added.
Huy Vanna, secretary general of the Housing Development Association of Cambodia (HDAC), disclosed that Ly Hour, CEO of Ly Hour Group, which is currently investing in Borey Vimean Phnom Penh, had expressed interest in investing in this new capital.
However, even though the land prices are relatively affordable compared to other provinces, he decided to withdraw his intention to invest, citing high land costs.
Vanna added, “If you want to invest in a new housing development in this province, it will take a long time to become successful; because it will take a while to attract residents, and the income of the area’s population is also limited.”
At 900,000 in population, Tboung Khmum province has six districts and one city – Kroch Chma Village, Tom Pae, Mae Muth, Panhea Krek, Tbong Khmom, Ourang Ov, and Soung city.