RCAF Chief Is Major Donor to New University

serei saophoan district, Banteay Meanchey province – RCAF Com­mander-in-Chief Ke Kim Yan and private donors have contributed $2 million towards building a $3.5 million university in Banteay Meanchey province, Prime Min­ister Hun Sen said Sunday at the university’s ground­breaking ceremony.

Hun Sen thanked Ke Kim Yan for raising the money for Mean­chey University, which will be located on National Route 5 outside Sisophon town in Serei Saophoan district’s Toek Thla commune.

“This is the biggest university in the northwest,” Hun Sen said. “We tried to move the universities closer to the people and now we see this come true.” The remaining $1.5 million is being sought, he added.

“[Ke Kim Yan] and his wife have spent money and got private donors to contribute to this funding,” Pok Saluy, Banteay Meanchey deputy governor and the director of the university’s construction committee, said Monday.

State funds will not be used to build the university but once constructed, the ministry will take over the university’s operations, said Mak Nang, higher education deputy director for the Ministry of Edu­cation.

“The state has no money, so private donors are encouraged to do it first,” she said, adding that Interior Minister Sar Kheng was also planning to build an educational institution in Battambang province.

In 2005, National Police Com­missioner Hok Lundy founded a university in Svay Rieng province.

Ke Kim Yan could not be reached for comment and the names of the private donors funding Meanchey University were not released.

SRP leader Sam Rainsy said Mon­day that politicians should stay clear of education.

“We should not ask government officials to privately build schools because it is the task of the government,” he said. “They will use this as a tool to control the students,” he added.

Chea Vannath, former president of the Center for Social Develop­ment, said that such a project will exert political “influence over the young.” And she warned: “The lack of independence is not only in the judiciary system, but it is also in the mind.”

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