The Supreme Consultative Council yesterday questioned Land Management Minister Chea Sophara over a draft construction law, noting that the public has raised concerns that current laws lack strict enforcement in relation to construction standards and the quality of buildings.
Kong Monika, president of Khmer Will Party and rotating president of the SCC, yesterday said that during the meeting, the council members raised concerns over the weaknesses of law enforcement which has led to construction projects being carried out without permits.
“We went through the draft construction law and we agreed that it was good,” he said. “But what we are concerned about is how the authorities will implement it. Systematic corruption remains a dramatic issue that the ministry must address.”
Mr Monika noted that SCC members also questioned Mr Sophara over the safety and fire protection measures to be inserted in the draft law, following the recent collapse of a building in Sihanoukville and fires which broke out in various places across the country.
“We asked the minister how the ministry intends to tackle safety issues, who will be responsible for enforcement and how it will ensure that officials are transparent and fully respect the law when issuing construction permits,” he said.
Seng Lot, Land Management Ministry spokesman, yesterday said the ministry has acknowledged the concerns raised by SCC members but noted that the draft law was made with inputs from many stakeholders.
“We have listened and noted their concerns but the draft law is well-prepared and it aims to make sure that all construction works comply with the standards which are set,” he said.
Mr Lot noted that the draft law has been discussed with related ministries and was drawn up using input from Japan over the past couple of years.
He said the ministry hoped that it will become a comprehensive law to ensure a healthy construction industry.
The draft construction law consists of 22 chapters and 113 articles. It aims to set principle, technical regulations, measures, and procedures for the management of the construction sector.
According to a ministry report, the draft construction law was introduced in 2017 with the participation of land management officials and relevant stakeholders, including experts from Japan. The bill was last discussed at ministry level on July 16, 2019.
Sok Kin, president of the Building and Woodworkers Trade Union of Cambodia, yesterday said the draft law should have included inputs from civil society groups and unions in order to ensure safety protection for all construction workers.
“Construction law is vital and it should have gathered all ideas from related parties so that a proper protection mechanism could be generated,” he said. “The law should state strict conditions when it comes to constructing tall buildings.”