Phnom Penh authorities have earmarked a 3-hectare property in Kandal province as the new home for 95 displaced ethnic Vietnamese families, Municipal Cabinet Chief Mann Chhoeun said Wednesday.
But the families, many of whom are camped in a graveyard on the outskirts of the city, can’t make the move before approval from the Ministry of the Interior.
Prach Chan, director of general staff for the ministry, said Thursday he has not yet seen the proposal and will only move on it once the ministry has had time to conduct its own investigation.
Kandal Governor Tep Nannory on Wednesday said he opposes the move.
“History will write me down for allowing illegal foreigners,” he said. “But it is up to the Ministry of the Interior [to decide the matter.]”
The families have been on the move since April when municipal authorities, under pressure from monks and local villagers, evicted them from Wat Chak Angre Leu compound in Phnom Penh. They moved to the vacant wat in 1979, when Vietnamese troops toppled the Khmer Rouge regime.
In May the families were denied permission to move to another plot of land in Kandal province just 7 km from the current site.