City Hall on Friday issued a two-week deadline for all businesses in Phnom Penh to prominently advertise their services in the Khmer language instead of foreign ones by September 14.
Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Hout Hay said that action will be taken against businesses which do not comply with the requirement from the Tourism Ministry.
Speaking during a meeting at City Hall to find ways to weed out drug trafficking and distribution in hotels and other tourist spots in the city, Mr Hay warned that authorities will take legal action against business owners who continue displaying signboards advertising services in foreign languages such as English, Chinese, and Korean.
“After this deadline expires, we will send teams of inspectors to check out business premises in the city,” he said. “If a business owner is found to have failed to comply with the ruling, we will take legal action and take down the signboards.”
Mr Hay said the ministry and City Hall have previously appealed to business owners to use signboards with the Khmer language in large letters and other languages in smaller letters.
He noted that some owners have refused to comply and this has forced City Hall to issue the deadline.
City Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey said on Sunday that it’s not a new requirement from the ministry, but some businesses refused to change their signboards.
“So far, we have instructed all business owners to remove their foreign banners and now it is a timely reminder for them to do so,” he said. “I think two weeks is enough for them to remove their signboards.”
He added that the government will take legal action against errant owners in order to conserve the Khmer language.
“We have so far not wanted to take strict action against them, and I hope that the business owners will follow the instruction,” he said.
Yorn Sokren, a branch manager of VC Optic in Phnom Penh, on Sunday said that his business has already followed the ministry’s instruction to use Khmer on its signboard.
“We should have our signboard in Khmer because we are not living abroad,” he said. “We live in Cambodia so we must promote the Khmer language.”
“But because we also have foreign customers, we need to advertise in foreign languages so we use them in smaller letters, below the Khmer,” he added.