Funcinpec Claims Stadium Belongs to King

Funcinpec last week added its voice to the chorus of critics questioning the renovation and development of Olympic Stadium, issuing a Dec 30 statement declaring the stadium “should be handed over to its original owner in order to allow it to be used for its original purpose.”

The statement did not specify who is the “original owner,” but noted that King Norodom Sihan­ouk commissioned the edifice in the 1960s.

“The Olympic Stadium is a symbol of the glorious architecture of Khmer engineers who built it following the vision of the highest worshipped and respected His Majesty the King,” the Funcinpec statement said.

The sports complex is in the hands of a Taiwanese developer, the Yuanta Group, which has a contract with the Ministry of Edu­cation to renovate the sports facilities and construct residential, business and other buildings on the stadium grounds.

But the statement did not go on to say definitively that the stadium should be preserved in its original state.

Chea Vannath, president of the Center for Social Development, which has led the charge to preserve the stadium as part of Cambodia’s architectural heritage, said more than 2,000 signatures have now been collected on a petition to save the complex.

The signatures come from “people from all walks of life—monks, lay people, military and police, civil servants, merchants, motodops, students, everyone,” Chea Vannath said Monday.

Minister of Education Tol Lah has declared that the development will continue and that he will not respond further to detractors.



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