The Sam Rainsy Party has requested Cabinet Minister and Apsara Authority Chairman Sok An to give an official explanation to the National Assembly about the installation of lights at Angkor Wat, SRP lawmaker Son Chhay said Sunday.
Mr Chhay said the lights used to illuminate Angkor Wat were being installed “unprofessionally,” and added that he believed that the lamps shining on the temple’s outside were radiating enough heat that they would damage the temple.
“We have a lot of problems with how the Apsara Authority runs Angkor Wat,” he said. “We want to get an official response [from the Assembly] for the public and as parliamentarians.”
On Wednesday Unesco gave a positive recommendation to a proposal to illuminate part of Angkor Wat on the condition that it would be conducted in close cooperation with its International Coordinating Committee for Angkor. Unesco also said that no damage had been done by any recent lighting set up at the famed 12th century temple.
The Apsara Authority, which manages Angkor Archaeological Park, said last week it would use LED lamps, which emit little heat, to light up Angkor Wat.
“I think Unesco did not approve, they just try to be diplomatic,” Mr Chhay said, adding, “I believe Unesco should look into this more carefully.”
Council of Minister’s spokesman Phay Siphan said he had no further comment on the issue and added that Mr Sok An “would be happy to explain the project.”
Mr Chhay said he had also requested Mr Sok An to clarify how the Sou Jhin company had been selected to receive the rights to install and service the lighting.
Apsara Authority Director Bun Narith said Sunday he would not comment on Mr Chhay’s request until he had seen an official copy of it.
Var Chouda, owner of Sou Jhin company, said his company had received the 30-year contract to operate the lights at Angkor Wat after a fair bidding process, but declined to elaborate.
“Everyone has the right to criticize, but they should think before they talk,” he said.
Unesco Country Representative Teruo Jinnai could not be reached for comment Sunday.