Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, leading a delegation of Thai, British and Dubai investors, met with Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday to discuss the building of an “environmentally friendly city” in Koh Kong province, officials said Sunday.
Hun Sen aide Eang Sophalleth said the prime minister welcomed the investment, adding that he requested the delegation to meet with the Council for the Development of Cambodia as well to further discuss the plan.
“The new city will be built with a good environment,” Eang Sophalleth said. Houses, hotels, hospitals, schools and a seaport are included in the city plan, he added, but said he did not have figures detailing how much the project would cost.
Thaksin “might have a big share” in the project, he said.
Koh Kong Provincial Governor Yuth Phoutang said there has been no official request to the provincial authorities regarding the investment project, but he welcomed it nonetheless.
“It would be a first-class development and would improve the economy and increase employment,” he said. He added he did not know the location of the proposed project, but that state and private land would be available for construction of the new city.
According to Yuth Phoutang, profits from the project would help local people.
“We don’t have anything to lose; we can only benefit,” he said.
The proposal appears to differ from recent reports in the Thai media about Thaksin’s investment plans for Koh Kong. The Bangkok Post reported earlier this month that Thaksin is interested in developing a casino and entertainment complex in the province.
SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann said he was concerned that investors would only build a casino in Koh Kong, because there is no need for a new city given the province’s small population.
“I am concerned that [Thaksin] will build a casino and it would only benefit the powerful people,” Yim Sovann said.