Thousands Petition Against Stadium Project

The Center for Social Develop­ment has sent 3,036 signatures to Prime Minister Hun Sen petitioning him to restore the Olympic Stadium to its original state.

The petition, authored by CSD President Chea Vannath, credited its existence to a public forum held in December. “The participants at the public forum raised technical, legal and social reasons why the Taiwanese developer’s scheme will effectively result in the destruction of the National Sport Com­plex,” Chea Vannath wrote.

She said that, according to technicians, the Olympic Stadium was originally constructed to meet international Olympic standards. The stadium, which is now hemmed in by commercial buildings, is no longer suitable for in­ternational events, as large crowds can no longer evacuate the complex quickly in case of an emergency, the petition said.

Chea Vannath also cited a participant in the public forum who re­portedly said, “The new moat around the National Sports Com­plex would obstruct ventilation and drainage systems, which will cause flooding during heavy rain. Effectively, this will make the sports facility useless.”

Then she struck a nationalistic note: “Participants at the public forum said that different countries in the world recognize the Khmer people as the descendants of the Angkor builders, a race of perseverance, because they saw the gi­gantic and marvelous architecture of our National Sports Complex.”

Then an obsequious tone: “The people strongly hope and have confidence that Samdech Prime Minister will take this issue into consideration for resolution with his good will. The people always appreciate and remember the highly nationalistic and idealistic activities that Samdech Prime Minister has fulfilled and is fulfilling for the sake of the nation and the people.”

In March Hun Sen replied to a similar petition signed by 33 Funcinpec and opposition lawmakers, writing, “The Royal Government has not discovered any reason to invalidate the Yuanta Group’s contract, as the Yuanta group has complied very well with its duties despite some difficulties.”

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