In an attempt to preserve Phnom Penh’s beauty, Kep Chuktema, Phnom Penh’s municipal governor, has again ordered the city’s residents not to hang their laundry out to dry on sidewalks and balconies.
The order, which appeared in a directive dated April 6, was particularly aimed at those living along the city’s main boulevards.
“Phnom Penh City Hall has noticed that people using sidewalks and balconies as a place to dry clothes is disturbing public order, beauty and the environment in Phnom Penh,” the governor’s order reads. “It is jeopardizing the dignity and honor of Khmer citizens, who used to be highly civilized,” it states.
The directive adds that refusing to comply with the prohibition on the public drying of wet laundry would result in “Phnom Penh City Hall taking firm legal measures.”
Kep Chuktema did not answer repeated calls Wednesday, but Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Pa Socheatvong said the order was a reminder to city residents of the ongoing beautification measures being carried out by City Hall.
He added that the reminder was not linked to the upcoming 17th Asean-European Union Meeting scheduled for May in Phnom Penh, and will see the arrival of dozens of heads of state.
Despite having said in the directive that “firm legal measures” would be used against people who dry their clothes outside, Mann Chhoeun, another deputy municipal governor, said that the “Dharma of patience” would be used in raising public awareness about the order.
He refused to say what people should do instead when drying their clothes, hinting at the possibility that some would be able to dry their clothes “on the side of their house.”
Dr Veng Thai, director of Phnom Penh municipal health department, said that for health reasons it is better to dry clothes in the sun.
“If you dry your clothes in the sun it kills more of the bacteria,” he said.