Hundreds of vendors at Phnom Penh’s Phsar Kandal on Thursday signed a thumb-printed petition asking Prime Minister Hun Sen to reject the proposed transformation of the market into a multi-story complex.
Organizers are still gathering thumbprints of the nearly 500 market vendors at the riverside market and plan to submit them to the premier next week, said book vendor Kruoch Nim, 38, who added that a renovation would hurt the vendors who built the market two decades ago. The petition is in response to recent attempts by the firm PPMD and Rootiz Group to amass vendor support for a new market, he said.
“Right now vendors are still poor,” he said. “The market does not need renovation.”
Chan Sophal, director of PPMD and Rootiz Group, said his company has presented plans to the premier’s cabinet, City Hall and the Interior Ministry.
If approved, an eight-story building would replace the current market. Vendors would occupy the ground floor while the top floors would be office space, he said.
However, the Council of Ministers on June 16 suspended all plans to develop Phnom Penh’s markets following protests by vendors at Phsar Tuol Tompoung, or Russian Market, over plans there.
Mr Sophal said his company will need support from vendors at Phsar Kandal for renovation plans to move forward.
The company, he said, is willing to work with vendors to find a satisfactory agreement before the building’s construction. That could include a temporary location for the vendor’s stalls free of charge.
“If they don’t trust us, we can give them a lawyer to do a contract with us,” he said. “I need an agreement with the vendors first before construction.”
Pa Socheatvong, municipal deputy governor, said any new plans for the Phnom Penh markets were at a standstill following protests at Phsar Tuol Tompoung.
“We suspended market development plans, and so far we do not yet have new plans,” he said.