The National Assembly on Monday approved a government payment guarantee to a power company planning to build a coal-fired plant in Preah Sihanouk province.
The guarantee obliges the government to pay the Cambodia International Investment Development Group, which is owned by ruling party senator Lao Meng Khin, in case the state-owned Electrucite du Cambodge, fails to pay them for their power.
The development company plans to build a $181 million plant capable of producing 135 megawatts of electricity in Preah Sihanouk.
In the session on Monday, some opposition lawmakers disagreed with the plan.
Son Chhay, a lawmaker for the Sam Rainsy Party, said the deal could saddle the government with high electricity costs, or leave it open to pay even if “political crisis” somehow shut down the plant.
He called on the government to undertake an environmental assessment, saying a coal plant could pollute the popular tourist sites of the coastal province.
However, Cheam Yiep, a lawmaker for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, said the plant was “in the interest of the nation and the people.”
Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Suy Sem said the plant would provide power in the rainy and dry seasons. Cambodia’s power demands called for a plant, he said.
“If we must use electricity, we must build a coal-fired power plant,” he said.