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Rubber plantation families denied access to PM

Former rubber workers speak with reporters at the Memot Rubber Plantation in Kampong Cham province in September. Photo by: Sebastian Strangio
About 400 villagers from Kampong Cham province’s Memot district have
been refused access to a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen on
Wednesday, out of fear they will disrupt the event with protests
relating to a land dispute, residents and officials said.

people, who come from three villages inside the Memot Rubber Plantation
in Tramoung commune, are engaged in a dispute with TTY Corporation Co
Ltd, the private firm that has recently taken control of the plantation.

The premier is scheduled to speak with villagers at Memot Bun
Rany Hun Sen High School Wednesday to mark the 32nd anniversary of the
January 7, 1979, overthrow of the Khmer Rouge.

Local resident Oun
Suo Chen said authorities selected about 3,000 villagers to attend Hun
Sen’s speech, but that they had barred access to residents from the
three villages.

“I asked the commune chief and he said that
villagers in these three villages are not allowed to attend the meeting
because they have a land dispute, and they are afraid we will bring
documents to pass to Hun Sen,” she said.

Another villager, Preab
Keo, said that as a Cambodian citizen and supporter of the Cambodian
People’s Party, he was disappointed with the lack of action by the
authorities in relation to the dispute.

He said he had already prepared documents related to the land dispute to present to the premier.

local authorities said that they will take strict measures to not allow
villagers from these three villages to meet with the prime minister,”
he said.

“I wonder if they are afraid we will tell our story.”

said the Memot Rubber Plantation, in Tramoung commune, contains 950
families who have lived in and worked in rubber plantations in that area
for more than 30 years.

Under a recent scheme to privatise the
formerly state-run plantations, he said, residents have been pressured
to relocate to a new location since 2008.

In total, seven
plantations are set to be privatised, including six in Kampong Cham and
one in Kratie province. The Asian Development Bank recommended the
privatisation of the rubber plantations as part of a general plan to
increase the efficiency of the old state-owned enterprises.

Phnom Penh Post
Categories: Local News
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