Gov’t, Thai-Owned Businesses Begin Compensation Talks

Negotiations between the government and Thai-owned com­pan­ies over compensation for those whose property was damaged during the Jan 29 riots are under way, company and government spokesmen said Mon­day.

Both sides are under instruction to keep details of the talks se­cret; Sak Chai, general manager of the Juliana Hotel, however, gave some indication of how the process is progressing.

“Right now, we still have no results for the compensation,” he said. “The government showed me a figure, but it was very small. So the amount is not finalized yet—we need to provide more in­formation, more documents for them.

“I have no idea when we will see the money,” Sak Chai said. “But I think this will go on for a very long time. Other Thai businessmen have also not been compensated yet—except the Royal Phnom Penh, which has a special deal worked out with the government.”

A Ministry of Interior official charged with processing the claims, who did not want to be identified, declined to comment specifically on the Royal Phnom Penh Hotel’s claim.

“The process is still ongoing,” the official said. “We are still in nego­ti­ation.”

Somchai Lertwiset-Theerakul, general manger of Samart, said Monday he is waiting for a final decision on his claim from the government’s committee on normalizing bilateral relations. “It’s not concluded yet—but we expect to get the money in the next couple of weeks,” Somchai said.

Samart’s brightly colored new offices on Norodom Boulevard—created after the company’s former home near Phsar Thmei was destroyed by fire in the riots—are now up and running, Somchai said. But the relocation has not been easy: “We have had some unforeseen problems, especially with [information technology]. But the network is fine—so the customers are happy, but I am not.”

Trairat Kaewkerd, general manager of Cambodia Shina­watra, said he was due to meet Monday with government representatives to discuss his com­pany’s claims. “Our claim is still in process,” Trairat said. “Both governments want the negotiations to be a secret, so I cannot give any more details while the process is still going on.”

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