Prince Wants Even Bigger Assembly Building

After helping to hatch a giant, new government Thursday morn­­­­ing, Prince Norodom Rana­riddh, now a second-term Na­tional Assembly president, prom­ised to keep building big.

In his first public comments on the new mandate, the prince announced that the new National Assembly building, under construction for more than a year, will be taller than its neighbor, the NagaCorp Casino.

“I have ordered that the height of the National Assembly building’s roof be increased up to 77 meters, higher than Naga’s building,” he told reporters outside the current Assembly building.

The prince’s wish would mean adding 22 meters to the height of the structure as planned, enough to sufficiently trump the casino’s 55 meters, he said.

Cheam Yeap, chairman of the National Assembly’s Construc­tion Commission, said later the prince had promised the impossible. “We have drawn the master plan, and the National Assembly already adopted it, so we cannot change,” he said.

The new Assembly building’s tallest spire will be 78 meters, but the roof itself will be overshadowed, he said.

“We don’t know what to do be­cause the city al­ready approved the Naga. I al­ready made a complaint,” Cheam Yeap said.

Prince Ranariddh toured the Assembly construction site last month and voiced disgust with the casino towers looming overhead. “What an ugly building it is! It looks like two ships,” he said.

The casino, which moved last year from a ship moored on the bank of Tonle Sap river, has drawn criticism for towering over the nearby Buddhist Institute and the future home of the Assembly.

Michael Nen, NagaCorp’s public affairs officer, declined to comment on the prince’s wishes. “Personally, I have no idea what’s wrong,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Porter Barron)


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