Officials have sent a letter to the developer overseeing the multimillion-dollar Olympic Stadium renovations, asking why restoration of the stadium is taking so long.
“According to my estimation, about 20 percent of the stadium has been renovated. The renovation of the stadium is very slow,” Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport Bou Chhum Serey said Sunday.
Although Bou Chhum Serey would not provide specifics on the letter, the undersecretary said he requested information from the developer, Yuan Ta, on why the project seems to be dragging.
“We are very worried about this,” Bou Chhum Serey said.
Officials from Yuan Ta were unavailable for comment Sunday night, but they have claimed work on the stadium’s offices was 90 percent complete. After a delay in construction in February, Yuan Ta official Roland Tsai said construction was back on track and should be completed by October or November.
The Yuan Ta Group received a $40 million contract in May 2000 to rehabilitate the stadium and develop the area surrounding it. According to a model unveiled in May 2000, there were to be three hotels, two parking garages, a six-building entertainment center, an office building and a shopping mall. The stadium was to be renovated first, and the project was to be complete in five years.
Officials have criticized Yuan Ta for moving too slowly. In February, Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara said the company had “done nothing” and urged the government to revoke Yuan Ta’s contract. In May, Secretary-General of the Olympic Committee Meas Sarin said he had not seen any work done on the stadium and speculated the company was out of money.
On Sunday more than 200 people applied for construction jobs. The applicants were asked to climb over a four-meter scaffold. Unidentified officials in charge of the application process physically led reporters away from the site.