PM Praises New Market As Example

A new vendor-owned market in Siem Reap province sets a great example for the rest of the country as it struggles towards government decentralization and self-reliance, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Monday.

“This is a model of decentralization,” the prime minister said, speaking on national radio at the opening ceremony Monday morning for the new $1.9 million Phsar Loeu market.

The government is continually looking for ways to restructure Cambodia’s market system, which suffered heavily under Pol Pot’s agrarian reform policies.

The Khmer Rouge looted and burned down Phsar Loeu in 1982. After years of struggle with developers and politicians, vendors led efforts to rebuild using both public and private financing, Hun Sen said, adding that the effort represents a great symbolic step.

“This is one experience that will set the example for other areas. We must gather those who have capital to help develop the country,” he said.

Hun Sen also thanked the vendors for reserving a section of the market for their poorer colleagues and asked local officials to give the poorer vendors a reduction on the daily tax.

“The vendors of Phsar Loeu are masters of Hun Sen,” the premier said.

Hun Sen also blasted state-run enterprises for mismanaging the Cambodian economy as it moved from communism to a free market system with the help of large loans from the Soviet Union, Hungary, Bulgaria and dozens of international consultants.

“The state car’s tire broke on the first kilometer,” he said. “Some of the tires were torn right from the factory, before they were pumped up.”

Hun Sen praised the Apsara Authority for installing 11 new toilets at Angkor Wat, after he recently demanded they do so.

He had warned  he wanted them installed.

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