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Ministry: Selling untitled lands creates conflict

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara at a meeting to resolve a land dispute. KT/Chor Sokunthea

In a bid to prevent land conflicts across the country, the Land Management Ministry is requesting capital and provincial authorities to stop the practice of registering land without approval.

Land Management Minister Chea Sophara said on Thursday that the ministry raised the issue to prevent land conflicts from occurring in the first place.

Mr Sophara said that land must first be registered with the ministry prior to ownership being transferred to another entity such as a development company.

“In order to prevent land conflict, I would like to request officials in the capital and in the provinces to take action on commune and district administrations to stop the transfer of ownership of unregistered properties,” he said.

Ministry spokesman Seng Lot could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Khan Chamnan, Kratie Provincial Deputy Governor, said yesterday that his office has not received the letter. However, he said that his administration will comply with the order.

“When we receive the letter, we will follow its instructions,” said Mr Chamnan, who is also in charge of land disputes in the province.

He added that land disputes in Kratie occurred in the past due to boundary limits being adjusted and landgrabbing by migrants.

“In some cases, [migrants] cleared land and occupied it. They would then leave the land after two to three years and other people would come and settle there, thus creating room for conflict,” Mr Chamnan said. “In most cases, disputes occurred on land that has no land title.”

Earlier this year, the ministry said that in 2017 the ministry issued 5,881,582 land titles, most of which were given to villagers.

The ministry added it aims to reduce and prevent conflicts involving land and strengthen land documentation.

On Sunday, 42 families living in Sihanoukville’s Muoy commune, who claimed to have a land dispute with Sihanoukville Autonomous Port official Chan Kang, were given land plots by Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities.

Preah Sihanouk provincial Governor Yun Min said that the distribution of land plots to the 42 families indicated that the land dispute between the people and Mr Kang had finally ended.

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