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Citizens Cheer After Minister of Land Management Confirms No Relocation of People Living in Preah Dak Commune

SIEM REAL: The Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, DPM Chea Sophara, and the Minister of Culture, Phoeurng Sackona, visited Preah Dak commune in Banteay Srei district, Siem Reap province, to meet with the residents protesting the potential demolition of their homes on Friday, 7 October. The two Ministers made this visit to clarify the principles of the Royal Government to Preah Dak commune residents and confirm that there is no plan to relocate them elsewhere or demolish their homes.

DPM Chea Sophara confirmed in a meeting with residents in Preah Dak commune that the Royal Government had previously inspected the area in order to restore the eastern baray of Angkor, and ensure the water supply available would be sufficient for people to use. He clarified that the relocation of people living near the eastern baray located in Preah Dak commune would be in accordance with the will of the people, and would not be forced.

However, he said people could not take ownership of the land in the area, nor could they sell it, in fear of losing Angkor’s World Heritage status given by UNESCO.

In a Facebook post, the Minister of Land Management showed the enthusiasm of the people living in Preah Dak commune and wrote,” Smiles and cheers of the people in Preah Dak commune, Banteay Srei district, Siem Reap province. People should only listen and accept information that has a clear source, as the information that comes from working groups, the competent authorities and the official press has been registered."

Speaking at the opening of the “Cambodia Outlook Conference 2022” on Thursday morning, 6 October, Prime Minister Hun Sen claimed that the Royal Government did not do anything to affect the lives of people in Preah Dak commune. In this sense, He stated that there was no order to relocate people in Preah Dak commune, and the Royal Government is more concerned about the Angkor infrastructure, the eastern baray, while this baray lacks enough water for people to use.

The Prime Minister of Cambodia has told people not to worry and to keep quiet about this matter. He said, "Please, people in Preah Dak commune, please calm down, we cannot do anything to move the people out."

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