Construction of Siem Reap town’s new Angkor National Museum and Culture Mall project is nearly complete, and it is expected to open in October, a representative of the museum said Monday.
According to the Angkor National Museum Web site the project was initiated by an agreement between the Ministry of Culture, the Apsara Authority and Thai company Vilailuck International Holding Co Ltd, which holds a 30-year concession for the land on which the museum and mall are being built.
Attharat Jantarawarin, marketing communications manager for the Angkor National Museum, said by telephone that the museum will display over 1,000 Cambodian artifacts, some of which will be transferred from the National Museum in Phnom Penh.
“The museum is an education center,” he said, adding that the museum hopes to draw its customers from the tourists visiting the Angkor temples.
He also said that the entrance fees to the museum have been set at a whopping $12 for foreign tourists, $3 for Cambodians and $1.50 for local students.
The 20,000-square-meter Culture Mall, located within the museum compound, is 90 percent complete and will offer restaurants and shopping for tourists, he added.
However, Chuch Phoeun, secretary of state for the Ministry of Culture, who represents the government’s participation in the museum, said the project has not been officially approved by the government and is not near completion.
“I am waiting for a green light from the top levels of the government,” Chuch Phoeun said, adding that details such as ownership of the facility and who will manage it have still not been settled.
“Everything is not clear,” he said.
Khun Samen, deputy director of the Artifacts Department for the Ministry of Culture, added that his ministry will manage the museum and that the Thai company will only be in charge of the marketing.
Bun Narith, deputy general director of the Apsara Authority—the government body tasked with managing the Angkor park—also distanced himself from the project, saying that he was uncertain about details such as when the museum would open.