PHNOM PENH: Prime Minister Hun Sen has stated that the suspension of the 2022 Water Festival celebrations is because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and because Cambodia has to organize the ASEAN Summit.
In a special voice message released on Thursday morning, 15 September, Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that the spread of Covid-19 in Cambodia has not come to an end yet and he is worried that there could be a large-scale infectious outbreak from the large gathering for the Water Festival celebrations in Phnom Penh.
Moreover, this year's festival celebrations fall at the same time as the ASEAN Summit with numerous foreign heads of state visiting the country, so Cambodia must ensure that they are all secure.
"For me as Prime Minister, it is not possible to adjust the time to manage the holiday celebrations with the safeguarding of security, where other ASEAN governments, ASEAN counterparts, as well as other relevant organizations are meeting in Phnom Penh,” said Prime Minister Hun Sen.
According to the Prime Minister, the Summit will take place on 10 November with the heads of government and state beginning to arrive in Cambodia starting from 7 November.
In the same voice message, he also responded to analysts who said that Cambodia lacks money to organize the festival, stating that this is not the reason that the country is not doing the festival.
The Water Festival was previously scheduled for 7-9 November 2022. This is the third year in a row that the festival has been suspended since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.