Groundbreaking Held for New Ministry Building

Deputy Prime Minister and co-Min­­ister of Interior Sar Kheng praised New Hope Co Ltd, an ob­scure company hired to build the new headquarters for the Ministry of National Assembly and Senate Re­­­lations and Inspec­tions, at a ground-breaking ceremony on Wednesday.

“I would like to admire this company that has spent a lot of re­sources to invest with the government to build this new building,” Sar Kheng said in a speech at the site, which, until now, has been a rare public park in Phnom Penh’s Tonle Bassac commune.

New Hope representatives and government officials have given little information about the company, which is registered at the Min­istry of Commerce under a non­exis­­tent address and does not seem to have working offices. They have also given few details about the terms of the company’s contract, though of­ficials maintain a proper bidding process took place.

Men Sam An, Minister of the Min­­istry of National Assembly and Senate Relations and Inspec­tion, said that Prime Minister Hun Sen had agreed and approved the New Hope company to build the new min­istry.

“The great gesture of Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen is priceless gratitude,” she said at the ceremony.

Earlier this month, Huot Hak, the director of the ministry’s per­son­nel and administration department had said the company agreed to shoulder the building’s cost in exchange for half of the land in the centrally-located site near Phnom Penh’s Hun Sen park.

While officials at the ceremony did not disclose how much con­struc­tion will cost, Men Sam An had earlier said it would cost $1 million dollars.

As the ceremony took place,  residents looked on from the windows of the decrepit housing complex that overlooks the construction site that was re­cently their green space.

They have ex­pressed fears that their homes will be earmarked for removal next.


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