Government officials appear focused on abandoning and rebuilding all government offices and departments built during retired King Norodom Sihanouk’s Sangkum Reastr Niyum in the 1950s and 1960s, opposition lawmaker Son Chhay said Tuesday.
Commenting on the announced hand-over to private firm Phanimex of the property on which two RCAF warehouses stand in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo and Tuol Kok districts, Son Chhay said the deal was not to the financial advantage of the state, but would mostly benefit the company.
“I don’t think that Phanimex can provide better warehouses like the ministry wants,” Son Chhay said.
Co-Ministers of Defense Tea Banh and Nhiek Bun Chhay said last week that one replacement warehouse is being constructed on Phanimex land in Kompong Chhnang province’s Long Veak town. The second is taking shape on land also owned by Phanimex in Russei Keo district, they said.
The ministers said that the older warehouses are in a decaying state and are no longer suitable for the storage of military equipment.
Though the RCAF land on which the warehouses are situated is of higher value, their access roads are too small to allow large military trucks and tanks to pass, the ministers said.
“It is also because of security reasons,” Nhiek Bun Chhay said. “Now that we are developing the city, it is inappropriate that the military-purpose warehouses be located” there, he said. “If one day there is an accident—an explosion at a weapons depot—who is going to be responsible?” Nhiek Bun Chhay asked.
Tea Banh said the current warehouses are too small. In order to solve the problem, and given the RCAF’s financial short fallings, Phanimex was contracted exclusively to build new warehouses, he said.
The co-ministers did not give a projected completion date for the new warehouses, only that they will be completed shortly.
They also said that this was not the only land swap the ministry is currently brokering with private companies to upgrade RCAF amenities.
Phanimex President Suy Sophan could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Company adviser Tong Kim Thong declined to comment.