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- August 24, 2019 4:34 AM
PHNOM PENH – Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered the Ministry of Agriculture to preserve the protected area of Phnom Tamao and turn it into a conservative park.
Speaking at a graduation ceremony on Aug. 17, Hun Sen told the ministry to protect the Phnom Tamao Zoo as a national park and said a private company must take responsibility for clearing the forest, even though it was not affecting the zoo.
“Now we have decided that the whole forest, both the zoo and the surrounding area, will turn into a protected area to be managed by the Ministry of Agriculture because there is animal husbandry there,” the prime minister said.
He added that authorities will plant seedings and take care of them because it will be a forest park.
Khmer Thavrak youth activist Chhoeun Daravy expressed her appreciation at the prime minister’s order.
“We are really happy to hear good news from government and thanks to the Prime Minister Hun Sen for paying great attention to the Phnom Tamao area,” she said.
Daravy also asked the government to provide comprehensive information to villagers and public before developing any natural site as it helps people’s understanding and stops them from worrying.
Ma Chetra, a senior media official of the Cambodian Youth Network, praised the government action on the Phnom Tamao area, especially turning it into a conservative park.
He said people were sad about the loss of forest since it took a long time to grow. He urged the government to evaluate any project clearly before development.
Even though the government promised to turn the area into a conservative park, he would go and inspect the site.
“If the government does it to promote national interests, we really appreciate their hard work,” he said.
In a voice message on his Facebook page on August 16, Hun Sen said that he has sent more than 1,000 of his bodyguards with 113 vehicles to the area to help clear the land and plant trees.
As of Tuesday, 540 hectares had been completed but more time was needed for cleaning up.
“I would like to reiterate that Phnom Tamao must be kept as forest and protected land,” he said.