Cambodian Deputy PM rejects land-grab accusations against Vietnam investors

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Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhay Ly has rejected accusations that two Vietnamese companies have occupied residential land and caused severe environmental destruction in establishing rubber plantations in Cambodia.

"Vietnamese companies investing in Cambodia, including in rubber plantations, have contributed significantly to Cambodia's economic development," the Vietnam News Agency quoted the Cambodian deputy prime minister as saying.

Chhay Ly said he rejected information released by the NGO Global Witness and the Radio Free Asia (RFA) accusing companies under the Vietnam Rubber Group and Hoang Anh Gia Lai that they have wreaked considerable environmental damage and taken over land from the locals.

He said the rubber companies, including those from Vietnam, have strictly followed Cambodian laws, respected traditional customs of the locals and protected the environment when carrying out their projects.

He said this when receiving Vietnamese ambassador Ngo Anh Dung  on June 7.

Senior leaders of Kampong Thom and Krati provinces, where the Vietnamese companies have invested in rubber plantations, also attended the meeting.

Chhay Ly said the Vietnamese companies have not only created jobs for the locals and generated revenue for the Cambodian government, they have also carried out several charity activities like providing free medical examinations and building schools, medical stations and other welfare facilities in Cambodia.

He criticized Globle Witness for using pictures from the Khmer Rouge regime when accusing Vietnamese companies of destroying the forests and using force to stop local farmers from cultivating their land.

He said Cambodia has a fair policy for foreign investment that does not favor Vietnam.

The wrongful accusations have had negative impacts on Cambodia's political scene, especially ahead of the parliamentary elections in July, as well as the bilateral relationship of friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and Cambodia, he said.

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