Kampot provincial governor Mao Thonin has been praised by Prime Minister Hun Sen for his innovative approaches to solving land disputes outside of the court system. Hun Sen also urged other provincial governors to follow Thonin’s lead.
Thonin, who formerly served as governor of Pursat province, has drawn the praise of Kampot’s citizenry and their appreciation for his efforts to resolve land disputes without using the court system as a first option given the cumbersome and often inflexible nature a strictly legalistic approach inherently brings, which often intensifies the conflict as winners and losers are decided with no middle ground.
Hun Sen made the appreciation on December 30 at a groundbreaking ceremony for upgrading two national road in Kampot and Kep provinces.
While speaking at the ceremonial groundbreaking for a road construction project, Hun Sen singled out Thonin for praise regarding this issue.
“Now, many people in Kampot who had land conflicts have been satisfied [with his way of solving the disputes]. You must try to go even further… Kampot will be the province without anyone fighting over land because its governor stepped up and took on this major role in ending its land conflicts. Keep up your good work, my son.
“If the governors of all provinces can reach the level that Thonin did in Pursat and now has reached again in Kampot, I think that the problem of land conflicts will quiet down because there won’t be many of them left. Some places, these conflicts can happen between mother and child, while in other places they happen between siblings, and they always just bring their case to the court,” said Hun Sen.
He urged Thonin to continue to meet with parties to land disputes every two days or every three days at the provincial hall and keep working on finding solutions for them. For those who are unable to travel to the provincial hall, he should make time to visit their area in person whenever possible, suggested the prime minister.
“We have 17 million people, but how many land conflicts? I think, relatively, not that many. So, it should not be this huge problem where people from other countries see it as this enormous issue. So, what we must do is have every province do [what Thonin is doing in Kampot] and approach it in a way that is unbiased and focused on getting people to compromise with each other rather than fight,” he urged.