Political stability makes investors and business leaders happy, but opposition predicts corruption and poverty will only worsen
Prime Minister Hun Sen waves to the people from a campaign poster in front of the Naga Casino in Phnom Penh.
WITH the Cambodian People's Party having a solid majority to form the next government, some investors say they expect stability and strong growth in the coming mandate.
"A government led by the same leader is a government with more experience in business and trade. I hope there will not be much change," said Chan Sophal, director of the Cambodian Economic Association.
"The general view is that the political situation is more stable than five to ten years ago," agreed Acleda Bank director Peter Kooi. "Our customers want stability. They are saying if there is stability we will invest our money."
But Kooi urged the incoming government to focus on creating employment.
"There are three things the government should be focusing on - jobs, jobs and jobs....Less than 10 percent of university graduates are finding jobs," he said.
However, opposition lawmaker Yim Sovann said the ruling party has failed to deliver on promises to fight corruption and poverty, and that this would impact the economy.
"I think the government being ruled by the CPP alone will be worse than the previous one," he said.
"The CPP has ruled Cambodia for more than 20 years already, but poverty remains high, [as well as] corruption, inflation, land grabbing, illegal logging and illegal immigration."
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap, however, said the new government would pass at least 20 laws, including anti-corruption legislation and a new criminal code, in the upcoming National Assembly session.
"I am sure foreign investors will see Cambodia as an attractive investment location," he told the Post.
The election in 2003 ended in a yearlong stalemate that saw opposition parties refusing to form a coalition with the CPP, causing uncertainty in the marketplace.
With a 2007 constitutional amendment allowing a party to form a government with a simple 50-percent-plus-one of the seats in the National Assembly, the CPP is now in a strong position to govern alone once official results are announced to confirm its majority.