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Call to Review White Building Plan

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
The White Building, which is home to an estimated 554 families. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Ministry of Land Management is to create a committee to plan and review development of Phnom Penh’s iconic White Building.
Meanwhile, the sale or transfer of ownership of the building has been blocked temporarily for the committee to collect details of the people living there.
 
The Minister of Land Management, Chea Sophara, will head the committee, which will have a vice-president and 13 other members.
 
The committee will be responsible for a strategic plan, coordinate with relevant institutions, citizens and the Japanese firm Arakawa development company.
 
The committee will also review and decide on the new architectural plan for the White Building.
 
It will prepare the location and services of temporary accommodation for people who agreed to accept a place in the new development and review as well as monitor the progress of the project.
 
The ministry also established two sub-committees, one comprising 20 officials to cover technical aspects, and one of 12 officials for coordination matters.
 
Mr. Sophara told residents of the White Building on Tuesday that for the development to be successful and transparent, the ministry would collect statistics of residents living there.
 
Buying, selling or transferring ownership of accommodation in the building was banned temporarily.
 
He said residents must stay where they are and should not let strangers enter.
 
Commune chiefs or officials were not allowed to sign off on ownership transfers for now.
 
He said: “Don’t let arguments happen, otherwise how can I find houses for the people?”
 
White Building citizen representative Dy Sophanaramany supported the population survey and the survey of the number of homes in the building, involving collaboration by citizens, local authorities, ministries and the investment firm to make the development acceptable to all.
 
The Ministry of Land, the investment company and citizens met twice last month to discuss the development of the White Building and provided options for people to take money or be part of the development.  Relevant parties will meet again after the Water Festival.
 
According to the Ministry of Land Management, there are 554 families in the White Building. A study on developing the building showed that it will cost up to $80 million, including temporary accommodation for its residents.

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