Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema said on Thursday that he will continue former municipal governor Chea Sophara’s project to develop the tourism potential of Preah Vihear temple—a project that had helped build Chea Sophara’s popularity.
“I will continue to develop Preah Vihear province because it is our country’s issue,” Kep Chuktema said on Thursday after returning from a trip to the temple.
Kep Chuktema said that he recently ordered workers to install a drainage system at the Preah Vihear site to ensure that it will remain accessible during the rainy season and that the 113 km road from Tbeng Meanchey—the province’s capital—to the foothills of the Dangkrek mountains is 80 percent complete.
The road leading from Phnom Penh to Preah Vihear has also been completed, he said. The road was very near to completion in January, when Chea Sophara was still serving as governor.
During his two-day trip to Preah Vihear, Kep Chuktema and other Phnom Penh officials brought donations to villagers in Kantout commune, Choam Khsan district. The donations, distributed to 379 families, included sarongs, fermented fish paste and rice, a city official said.
Kep Chuktema said he wants to help develop tourism at Preah Vihear. He added, though, that he wanted the Preah Vihear governor to help develop the area as well instead of relying on only the Phnom Penh municipality.
Although the road to Preah Vihear from Phnom Penh has been completed, he acknowledged that transporting goods to and from Phnom Penh is very far and the distance to Thailand is much closer.
“I prefer that the border is opened,” Kep Chuktema said, adding that he didn’t think that Thai goods were better than Cambodian goods—just closer for Preah Vihear customers.