Saturday, 15 August 2009

New Dragon Bridge of the Council of Ministers Worth More Than US$2 Million Was Demolished though It Had Never Been Used – Friday, 14.8.2009

Posted on 14 August 2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 625

“A dragon bridge of about 100 meters built from sand stone worth more than US$2 million was totally demolished last week, even though it had not yet been used. Some days after the demolishing of the dragon bridge, two stone posts in front of the new Council of Ministers building were also demolished without specifying any reason.

“The dragon bridge was built with a beautiful design to connect the staircase of the building of the Council of Ministers to the double roads in front of it. This demolition wasted millions of dollar and raised questions among the public. Some people asked to which extent those responsible for these reconstructions will be blamed.

“The demolishing of the dragon bridge and the stone posts at the Council of Ministers, which cannot be hidden from the public, brought much criticism from many circles, including from a senior official of the Sam Rainsy Party.

“A parliamentarian from Phnom Penh and senior official of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Son Chhay, told Khmer Machas Srok about the demolishing, ‘In fact, we see that there has been strong criticism of the whole building.’ He added that the construction of this good building is paid for by loans from the Chinese government, which is a shame. Asking for a loan for this construction is a shame; moreover, there are quality problems and it is not known well what the irregularities are.

“Mr. Son Chhay went on to say, ‘As far as I know, that dragon bridge costs US$2 million, and it was built from sand stone. We do not know anything more, but normally, before any such constructions start, construction plans must have been organized, and there must have been technical discussions and discussions about esthetics.’ He added that the demolition is regrettable, as it wasted national resources and the money used for the construction was loaned.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that the government’s construction plan is paid for by loans from the Chinese government of more than US$36 million, and approx. US$32 million had already been spent; it is simply because loans are not yet used up and that is why they demolished the dragon bridge and those stone posts.

“Mr. Son Chhay added, ‘We regret it, because we are poor; we must not waste loans, it is not like when we draw pictures and then erase them again – here something was constructed and then demolished again. We have to think about the necessities we want to achieve before they are created. If something has already been constructed, we have to keep it, but not to demolish it. We still wonder what will be the explanation of the Council of Ministers.

“Phnom Penh residents and other people who travel along the Russian Federation Boulevard are wondering about the construction of another building for the Council of Ministers next to the building which has already constructed. They wonder, because the government does not explain it to the citizens.

“However, Mr. Hun Sen stated on 5 August 2009, when he handed degree documents to students at the National Institute of Education in Phnom Penh, that another building, being constructed next to the new Council of Ministers’ building – which has already been built – is an international conference center, and the plan was designed by himself. Mr. Hun Sen stated, ‘An international conference center is being constructed next to the building of the Council of Ministers. I planned the building myself, with a 120-by-45-meter layout. This building had five floors, but then it was recalculated to have seven floors.’

“The Cambodia Daily quoted Mr. Hun Sen’s words on 10 August 2009 as saying, ‘With the help of China, we built the Council of Ministers building, but now, we construct the new building [by ourselves] for the next generation. It is not only for me and how long I can stay.’

“Cambodia is a country with leaders good at boasting and at arguing among Khmer nationals. The construction of a new international conference center still leaves doubts among the general public, and Mr. Son Chhay suggested that the Khmer National Assembly should summon the Minister of the Council of Ministers and Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Sok An, to explain all this to the National Assembly.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that, ‘in such a case, there must be a call for a proper explanation at the National Assembly. When citizens have doubts about such accomplishments, the parliament should call the people responsible for it, such as H.E. Sok An, to give an explanation, like we did previously regarding the fixing of lighting at the Angkor Wat Temple, so that everyone knows what is going on, otherwise it might result in misunderstandings and lead to the arrest of people. Therefore, the state has to release a statement to explain why there is this new construction… as a principle, there must be a explanation.’

“The Khmer public has more doubts about the new building of the Council of Ministers, after the dragon bridge and the stone posts worth millions of dollars had been demolished. Government officials gave unreasonable explanations that the demolition was made to gain place for a parking lot. This explanation leads to the criticism that something was done before, without thinking carefully, or not having had a right plan, which then led to the demolition, which wastes national resources, while Cambodia is suffering from the global economic crisis.”

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #468, 14.8.2009
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 14 August 2009

No comments: