Foreign Firms To Explore Building Stadium

The government has authorized two foreign companies to jointly conduct a study in preparation for the construction of a new na­tional sports stadium in time for the 2011 Southeast Asian Games, a municipal official said Thursday.

Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mam Bun Neang said one firm from South Korea and another from China have already received copies of a plan drawn up by the municipality of the proposed stadium and will undertake a study of the estimated $320-million stadium project.

“We haven’t signed the contract yet, because the companies have not finished the study,” said Mam Bun Neang, who was au­thorized by National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ran­ar­iddh to over­see the project.

Mam Bun Neang could not name the interested companies on Thursday, but said that they—and not the government—can ex­pect to foot the $320 million bill for the new stadium.

“This is the investment,” the deputy governor said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen reiterated on Tuesday that he supports Prince Ranariddh’s proposal to build the stadium and said he hoped Cambodian athletes could earn at least a few medals in the 2011 SEA Games, as they have six more years to prepare.

Even drug users might participate in sports, the prime minister said.

“If those people correct themselves…take them to be football athletes,” Hun Sen said.

But the sports stadium fever does not appear to have infected local business tycoons, who have refrained from becoming in­volved in the project.

Sok Kong, chairman of petroleum company Sokimex Co Ltd, said he would leave it to the foreign firms.

“If there are foreign companies [that] want to construct it, let them do [it] because they have experience. We don’t have experience,” Sok Kong said.

He said he had received orders from Hun Sen to construct tennis courts for the stadium complex, but nothing else.

He added that the stadium construction was a cost he was un­willing to incur.

“No one will pay the money. I can­not spend my own money,” he said.

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