Government Planning Massive Memorial to Hun Sen’s Legacy

Prime Minister Hun Sen has formed a 20-person committee to plan a sprawling memorial in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changva district to ensure that his legacy is preserved for generations to come, according to a government order and officials on the committee.

The memorial to Mr. Hun Sen’s “win-win” policy, which he credits with ending years of civil war following the fall of the Khmer Rouge, will be constructed on a 15-hectare plot of land donated by CPP Senator Ly Yong Phat, one of the country’s wealthiest businessmen, according to Chuch Phoeurn, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Culture.

“The working group is still making the master plan,” said Mr. Phoeurn, who is on the memorial’s committee. “There will be a big monument located in the center, and it will be surrounded by four buildings. We will build a garden and park as well.”

Mr. Phoeurn said the monument would stand at least 50 meters tall.

“We will build the win-win policy memorial monument in the center, and the ground floor will be an ordinary building to support the main monument that will be 50 meters to 60 meters high,” he said.

The secretary of state said the walls of the monument would feature bas-reliefs depicting the country’s progress under Mr. Hun Sen over the past three decades, including images of the formation of the United Front for the National Salvation of Kampuchea on December 2, 1978, and the fall of the Khmer Rouge on January 7, 1979, after which Vietnam installed a government that included Mr. Hun Sen as foreign minister.

But the monument, Mr. Phoeurn said, is “mainly about how Prime Minister Hun Sen’s win-win policy has been implemented in Phnom Penh, the provinces and contested areas.”

The buildings surrounding the main monument will house archives of historical documents, photographs and video footage, along with research facilities and restaurants, Mr. Phoeurn said, adding that construction was expected to be finished within two years.

While the cost of the project has yet to be determined, most of the money will come from private individuals, according to Defense Minister Tea Banh, who is heading the memorial committee.

“I want to make clear that we will just use a small percentage of the government’s budget for the construction of the win-win policy memorial monument,” General Banh said.

“We will appeal to charitable people and humanitarians to help contribute to covering the spending, and I believe those who love…preserving the historical events and leadership will help contribute,” he added.

A December 22 order from the government forming the 20-member committee calls the construction of the memorial “necessary.” Gen. Banh explained that the necessity was born of concern that young people might fail to grasp the struggles that made modern-day Cambodia.

“We will inscribe how many people have sacrificed their lives…to end the civil war and bring today’s peace, stability and development,” he said.

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