It was the realization of an idea that has been in the works for months.
First Prime Minister Ung Huot in a Tuesday ceremony handed over the keys to the first in series of public city bathrooms, officials said this week.
“A few months [ago] in Sihanoukville he talked about public toilets over there and now he has realized what he said in Phnom Penh,” said Suy Mong Leang, an adviser to the first prime minister.
In a September speech at a school opening in Sihanoukville, Ung Huot decried public urination, saying it was destroying the international image of Cambodia.
“Men urinate against walls or on trees. That is bad for our image,” Ung Huot said. “The taxi drivers or generals or government officials who drive cars, they all stop to urinate just anywhere.
“This problem is small, but it has deep significance for the image of Cambodia to be respected internationally. This is our dignity.”
Phnom Penh First Deputy Governor Chea Sophara represented the city at the ceremony, which was held at Ung Huot’s house.
The first public facility in a planned series of 10 is in a lot next to the Hotel Renakse, across Samdech Sothearos Boulevard from the Royal Palace.
“That is only the first one he gave to the municipality this afternoon,” Suy Mong Leang said.
“It’s just an example that he realized he can make the city clean.”
Mann Chhoeurn, Cabinet director for the city, said Wednesday the toilets will be maintained every day.
“The toilets will be cleaned every day, especially for when people make a mess on the toilets,” Mann Chhoeurn promised. “We want to preserve the hygiene of the toilets.”
The bathrooms have separate facilities for men and women, with five sit-down toilets for each, Mann Chhoeurn said.
They should be open by next week, the officials said.