The Ministry of Interior has announced the establishment of 15 new villages in Pursat province. The new villages have been separated from existing ones in order to bring public services closer to the people and in a timely manner, as well as to address challenges in the local authorities’ management of the areas.

The establishment of the new villages was announced in a December 29 prakas, which was shared with the media this week.

According to the prakas, the villages were carved out from communes in Pursat town and the districts of Kandieng, Bakan, Krakor, and Kravnah.

Meas Ny, a social development researcher, said on January 4 that the creation of a new village in an overcrowded, non-contiguous village with a population of 500 to 800 households, is an effective way to improve access to public services. But if it was established with an external political goal, he said it would be another matter.

“It is recommended, but only if the village is large and geographically separated from its neighbours. If a village is already small and broken down into even smaller boundaries, then it could be interpreted as an attempt to alter political influence,” he said.

Provincial governor Khoy Rida told The Post on January 4 that the establishment of the new villages was not an act of whimsy.

“They have been formed because there were challenges in providing public services or in administering local affairs. When they are too spread out, it is difficult to manage the relationship between the people and the local authorities and to maintain security and public order,” he said.

“Based on what I have seen – through my own investigation of public service provision at the grassroots level – when a village is far away from the local administration, their lives are more difficult. It is challenging to communicate and manage security and emergency responses. When we have a comprehensive grassroots network, this is much simpler,” he added.

For reference, below is a list of the 15 new villages – sorted by commune and district-level administration – each written followed by the respective names in parentheses of the village(s) they were split from.

Pursat town {7 villages}: Phteah Prey commune – Phteah Prey (Peal Nhek 1), Sampov Meas (Peal Nhek 2), Chamkar Chek (Chamkar Chek Khang Choeung); Roleab commune – Thma Bei Dom (O’Thkov), O’Trav (Roleab), Chheuteal Roung (Prey Omal); Chamroeun Phal commune – Bor Vong (Tuol Kruos).

Phnom Kravanh district {3 villages}: Samrong commune – Ro Ko (Angkrong); Prangil commune – Ou (Prangil), Prey Andong (O’Baktra).

Krakor district {2 villages}: Kbal Trach commune – Srakum (Kralanh); Chhoeu Tom commune – Kraing Khoeun (Phteah Chek and Chhoeu Teb).

Kandieng district {2 villages}: Kanhchor commune – Tamao (Prek Trabek), Pralay Thom (Tuol Totoeng).

Bakan district {1 village}: Svay Donkeo commune – Preal (Nikom Leu).