Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday lashed out at environmental NGO Mother Nature while speaking at a ceremony to inaugurate the Lower Sesan II hydropower dam in Stung Treng province.
The NGO, which ceased operation on September 15 after the Interior Ministry cancelled its registration, had been a strong critic of the government’s lack of environmental protection policy.
“This NGO caused all kinds of trouble,” Mr Hun Sen said. “We could not do anything like this, or like that.”
Mr Hun Sen said the NGO always opposed government projects.
When the government wanted to create more power through coal or gas, hydropower or nuclear power, the NGO said the projects would harm the environment, he added.
“Cambodia is a paradise for oppositional NGOs,” Mr Hun Sen said.
The Prime Minister said no development could have no impact on the environment.
On one hand, people demand electricity at a cheap price, but on the other hand they try and stop development, Mr Hun Sen said.
“What is your real purpose?” he asked, addressing the NGO.
Two weeks ago, two of Mother Nature’s activists were charged with incitement to commit a felony and violation of privacy after photographing alleged sand dredging by the LYP Group, owned by Senator Ly Yong Phat.
Nominal president of the NGO Venerable Prum Dhammajat said he dissolved the organisation to avoid further trouble.
The NGO’s leader Alejandro Gonzalez Davidson was deported from Cambodia in 2015.
Ven Dhammajat told media he decided to close the organisation because he could not control the NGO or comment on Mr Gonzalez Davidson’s movements.
Mother Nature activists Dearm Kundy, 22, and Hun Vanak , 36, were arrested earlier this month after the NGO claimed it had new evidence of systemic smuggling of rare silica sand to Taiwan.
Hun Vanak was arrested and released in Saang district Kandal about two weeks ago. He was arrested for inciting villagers to revolt against legal sand dredging.
It alleged that data from Taiwan’s Customs Administration showed Taiwan imported more than 1.5 million tonnes of silica sand from Cambodia, valued at more than $32 million from 2012 to 2016.