Sam Al issues work plan to tackle Preah Sihanouk problems

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Minister of Environment Say Sam Al. Supplied

Minister of Environment Say Sam Al laid out a work plan on Friday to address the issues of security, social order, construction management and the environment in Preah Sihanouk province.

Sam Al said Preah Sihanouk, “an important economic pole in Cambodia”, is currently facing “complicated problems” which require “solutions from everybody” while attending the third-mandate inauguration of the provincial councillors on Friday.

He called on the newly-appointed councillors to work alongside other authorities to solve all the province’s problems, saying: “The council members must actively take part in offering solutions to people’s concerns with more transparency and efficiency.

“In addition, the council members ought to foster solidarity and consensus between government officials, armed forces and the people.”

He also urged them to build a modern administration in the province.

Moreover, Sam Al urged the armed forces to maintain security and public order, to provide safety assurance to the foreign tourists and to enhance public services in order for Preah Sihanouk to become a remarkably international place.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra told The Post on Sunday that the four priorities outlined in the work plan were among many instructions given by Sam Al.

“The plan covers issues of security, safety, order, construction management and environment which includes management of liquid waste and rubbish. We want to create a Preah Sihanouk that is very beautiful, clean, comfortable for its residents and attractive for tourists,” he said.

Cheam Him, the head of the third-mandate provincial council, said the 19 newly appointed councillors were expected to increase consensus among the provincial authorities.

Him noted that delegating tasks and distributing resources in an effective, transparent and responsible manner to benefit their jurisdiction is one of their duties.

Speaking to The Post on Sunday, Adhoc provincial coordinator Chieb Sotheary said she had no confidence in the working plan, suggesting that things would remain the same.

Preah Sihanouk, she stressed, has been facing “chronic issues” which were fuelled by abundant economic activities done by certain groups of foreigners.

“The new action plan is good, but I notice that [the third-mandate] council comprises mostly the same people from the previous mandate. Even the president has been holding the position for many years. Only a handful are new.

“I don’t have much hope for the new council to successfully solve the same problems that had occurred again and again with no significant improvement,” she said.

In order for the plan to work, Sotheary said: “All relevant authorities, especially the leaders, should accept the inputs from development partners and must have clear action plans as to implementation and monitoring at the highest level.

“Only time can tell whether the young minister can make a difference or not.”