City Picks Firm to Develop Squatter Land

The Phnom Penh Municipality will hand over approximately

14 hectares of land in Borei Keila community to a private company, which will then develop the area into hundreds of apartments for squatters living in the area, city officials said on Thursday.

The city sent a copy of the proposal to the Council of Ministers on Sept 12 and will request that the government today endorse the plan, which involves an uni­den­tified firm developing the land, which is occupied by squatters, and the former Sports Train­ing Complex, said Mann Chhoeun, chief of the municipal Cabinet.

“The city is requesting the Council of Ministers to advise,” Mann Chhoeun said.

Although few details of the deal were available, other municipality officials confirmed that the deal was going through.

“I don’t know exactly whether the land is sold or rented,” Seng Tong, deputy governor of Phnom Penh, said earlier this week. “There is really a plan to erect a new building for some of the residents.”

One official with the city, however, said the deal to develop the Borei Keila land was reached without a public bidding process.

“I do not see a construction plan yet, but the deal was made with­out a bid,” said the official, who spoke on condition of ano­nymity.

One top official with the city said the company chosen is the Phan­imex Co. Suy Sophan, the company director, could not be reached for comment on Thurs­day.

More than 9,000 people live in the Borei Keila community and an estimated 376 families out of 1,776 legally own land, said Bou Chum Serey, undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Edu­cation, Youth and Sport.

On July 14, Phnom Penh Gov­ernor Kep Chuktema an­nounced that, on orders from Prime Min­ister Hun Sen, the government would grant official land rights to about 500 families who have been squatting on the area.

It was unclear on Thursday how the city’s plan to develop the area with the private company would work within the framework of Hun Sen’s order.


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