Phnom Penh to Expand to 20 Communes, Not 27

Calling it the fourth expansion of Phnom Penh’s borders since the mid-1980s, Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday he has approved the formation of a committee that will oversee the addition of 20 communes to the capital.

Speaking at the inauguration of the multi-million-dollar Japanese-funded drainage system in the capital, he said he had given the go-ahead to the Ministry of Interior to form the committee on Wednesday, though he did not give a timeline for the committee’s work.

“Now Phnom Penh is expanding both internally and externally,” he said of the city’s growth.

Two weeks ago, the Council of Ministers approved the addition of 27 communes in seven Kandal province districts on all sides of the capital: six from Ang Snuol, five from Kandal Stung, five from Khsach Kandal, four from Kien Svay, three from Ponhea Leu, two from Lvea Em, and two from Mok Kampol.

But Mr Hun Sen said that plans to add seven of those communes lying to the east of the city have been placed on hold, due to their inaccessibility by road.

“The other seven on the other side of the [Mekong] River will be kept over there because we cannot go to work over there unless we swim across the river,” he said.

In 1985 Phnom Penh was extended to include what is now the Phnom Penh International Airport. In the late 1980s the city was extended to include Chroy Changva, while a third expansion brought the city further west, he said.

The 20 communes contain 171 villages, 152,964 people and 30,229 hectares of land, according to Kandal provincial cabinet chief Chhun Ly. According to the 2008 decennial census, over 1.3 million people lived in the capital.

Sung Bonna, CEO of Bonna Realty, said the designated area of expansion would likely cause an increase of property values there.

“The city land has the potential for investment rather than the province,” he said. “It will attract more investors to the area.”

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