Ministry of Environment Opens New Building

The Ministry of Environment on Monday inaugurated its palatial new headquarters in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district, the result of a state-private land swap.

A Buddhist ceremony to bless the “Morodok Techo Building” in Chaktomuk commune was attended by more than 400 ministry officials and presided over by nine monks.

Motorists drive past the Environment Ministry’s new headquarters in Phnom Penh, which officially opened on Monday. The 18,000-square-meter building cost $8 million to construct, according to the ministry.
Motorists drive past the Environment Ministry’s new headquarters in Phnom Penh, which officially opened on Monday. The 18,000-square-meter building cost $8 million to construct, according to the ministry. (Jens Welding Ollgaard/The Cambodia Daily)

Construction began on the hulking white building—festooned with spires and domes—in June 2014. Sao Sopheap, a spokesman for the Environment Ministry, said that due to speedy workmanship, em­ployees could begin working there as early as today.

“Environment officials have started to remove office materials from the old building now,” Mr. Sopheap said, explaining that at about 2,400 square meters, the former ministry building on Siha­nouk Boulevard was deemed too small.

“The new building is named after Prime Minister Hun Sen to show gratitude, because he offered us this high-quality location,” he said.

“This building is huge—it is over 18,000 square meters,” he added. “We spent around $8 million to construct it. I did not count the number of rooms, but it has around seven floors.”

In 2011, the Environment Min­istry entered into a deal with the Ratana Cooperation and Con­struction company to swap its prime piece of land in Phnom Penh’s Tonle Basac commune for a 9,000-square-meter plot and a new headquarters 20 km from the city center. But in 2014, the ministry abandoned construction and settled on the Daun Penh site—gifted by Mr. Hun Sen—instead.

Environment Minister Say Sam Al attends a ceremony to inaugurate the ministry's new headquarters in Phnom Penh on Monday. (Jens Welding Ollgaard/The Cambodia Daily)
Environment Minister Say Sam Al attends a ceremony to inaugurate the ministry’s new headquarters in Phnom Penh on Monday. (Jens Welding Ollgaard/The Cambodia Daily)

Once the old building is fully vacated, it will be handed over to the Ratana company, said the firm’s director general, Ean Elen.

“When they take everything from the building, they will contract the land to my company,” she said on Monday. “But I do not yet have a plan for what we will construct on it.”

Asked who footed the bill for the ministry’s new site, Ms. Elen de­clined to comment.

[email protected]

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA new weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.