The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction has appointed 362 inspectors to monitor, observe, research, inspect, collect evidence, and promote the implementation of construction laws throughout the Kingdom.
Civil society organisations have voiced support for the action, but emphasise enforcement must be carried out transparently, fairly, and avoid corruption.
The ministry said inspectors will be employed at national and sub-national levels in 25 cities and provinces. The officials will carry out their duties as defined in the 2019 Construction Law and Inter-Ministerial Prakas No118 on the procedures and forms for construction inspection.
Ministry spokesman Seng Lot could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Ou Davy, the Battambang provincial director of the Department of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction, said on Tuesday that construction inspection is needed to manage real estate development effectively to ensure quality and safety.
Ministry director Sarin Vanna said on Tuesday that all construction inspectors have the right to temporarily suspend and revoke relevant permits or licenses, as well as issue fines in case the construction law is not followed.
Vanna said officials have the right to seize evidence, file cases of construction offences and take action within the framework of law enforcement. This includes completed buildings, buildings under construction, construction projects and legal applications.
“Inspection officers must have the right [to enforce the law], and if they do not have that right, how can we manage and monitor crime? We have the right to build a case based on construction offences and take action under the law,” Vanna stressed.
Suo Chhlonh, a relations officer at the Cambodian Construction and Forest Worker Union Federation, supported this move. But he urged inspection officials to be transparent and fair. He said he was concerned about corruption.
“I want the relevant parties like civil society organisations, development partners and the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training to be involved because we are concerned about the ease with which corruption can be committed.
“Previously, we have seen the Ministry’s inspection teams visit illegal construction sites and the owner of the building pays a bribe,” Chhlonh claimed.
The construction law, which was officially passed on November 3, 2019, has 22 chapters and 111 articles.
The ministry said the law is designed to strengthen the quality, safety, construction, protection of property, and welfare of construction owners, users and the public.
The addition of inspectors is meant to increase accountability and efficiency in construction and professionalism in the construction sector, as well as increase investor confidence in it.