Men Sam An renews call against lending of farmland to foreigners

Svay Reing: Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An on Wednesday called on authorities to heed a directive issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2015 and prevent residents from lending their farm land to citizens of bordering countries, especially citizens of Vietnam.

Mr Hun Sen issued a directive four years ago banning the lending and leasing of land to citizens of other countries in order to maintain national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Mr Hun Sen said at the time that the directive was meant to ensure that residents use their land for cultivation and to ensure that people respect demarcated lines.

However, the move did not stop residents from lending their land.

Last year, former Takeo Provincial Governor Lay Vannak said he had to request his Vietnamese counterpart in An Giang province to stop their farmers from renting Cambodian land.

“Authorities need to disseminate this directive and educate people who are living along the border to stop lending their land to citizens of bordering countries,” Ms Sam An said during the closing ceremony of the 2018 Stocktaking and 2019 Directive Settings Conference for the Svay Rieng Provincial Administration.

Ms Sam An also called on sub-national authorities to prevent drug smuggling along the Vietnamese border.

“Authorities must strengthen international cooperation with their Vietnamese counterpart to monitor and curb drug smuggling,” she said. “We need to build a clean village that has no drugs and we also need to enforce measures against drug trafficking.”

She reiterated the message on her Facebook page on the same day.

“Provincial authorities need to respond quickly and be ready to serve the public,” Ms Sam An said. “Be united and solve challenges in local areas.”

Chen Sathean, chief of administration at the Svay Rieng Provincial Hall, yesterday said people in the province have not been lending their land to foreigners.

“There is no renting of our farmland to Vietnamese citizens any more,” Mr Sathean said. “We have been implementing the order from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Interior Ministry and the provincial governor.”

“We keep our border situation calm and we won’t allow foreign nationals to rent our farmland,” he added. “We told our people to not do so. Even if there’s no development here, our land is still ours.”