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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Something positive, please

Something positive, please

The Editor,

The lead article in the Post issue Dec 13-26, "Political bickering leaves

foreign investors cold", is a tepid rehashed article that would have had more

relevance in the "Stand and deliver days" back in June.

The only difference now is that the parties see more gain sic. election by making

more news and noise about peace-brokering than six months ago.

Since the 1993 election there has always been investor wariness about the relationship

between the coalition partners and the ability of Cambodia to sustain its democratic

legislature over a period of time. Foreign investors are only too aware of the political

risk in Cambodia and the political risk is always assessed with, sometimes before,

the commercial risk versus the potential returns. In light of this, the article says

nothing new at all. Cambodia is perceived as a high risk country and therefore it

is easy to pick on the negatives. The Western press has been doing it for years generally

for good reason too.

What the Kingdom needs is an opportunity to go forward and after three years of democracy

you cannot expect complete political harmony. Thailand, after years of sucking in

Western investment, has had numerous bloody coups and more recently serious allegations

of corruption at the highest level. Does anyone care? Vietnam is no investor's paradise

either. Journalists are too frightened to print anything in black and white. The

message is still there.

It is easy to whinge and even easier to rehash an old story. Whilst many tenets of

the article are true and are likely to remain so, is it so hard to write something

positive or different? Stories should not be molded from a dust-ridden ox-cart.

Nevertheless, look at the real multinationals that have invested here. Telstra, Shell,

Caltex, Enterprise Oil, Asia Pacific Breweries and British American Tobacco, to name

just a few, have all invested millions of dollars in the Cambodian economy. And in

the forthcoming years, increased investment can be expected from Asean and East Asian

countries.

A more balanced view of the investment climate would be appreciated.

- Anthony Ainsworth, General Manager, IMIC

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