Leaders and businesspeople from the Malaysian state of Malacca have vowed to promote investment among compatriots in four target Cambodian sectors – education and vocational training; real estate; mining; and energy, according to the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC).

The pledge was made during a working meeting on March 24 between Malacca governor Mohd Ali Rustam and CDC deputy secretary-general Nut Un Voanra, also attended by Malaysian ambassador Eldeen Husaini Mohd Hashim, the CDC said in a statement later that day.

The governor commented on how conducive Cambodia’s new Law on Investment – which came into effect on October 15 – was to business, and that the Kingdom had “made progress in all areas”, according to the statement.

Ali vowed to share insights on the investment opportunities gained during the visit, as well as information on the developments seen in-person, with Malaccan associates and convince them to look into the possibility of entering the Cambodian investment space and “strengthen the friendship and relations between the two nations”.

At the meeting, Un Voanra highlighted investment opportunities in the Kingdom and recent developments concerning investment-related work, especially the new investment law, which he said sets out priority investment sectors and activities, provides incentives and protections for investors, and is overall “much better and more attractive”.

“Cambodia is pleased and ready to work with the ambassador and officials of the Malaysian embassy, and provide information on investment and facilitate the visits of other Malaysian investment delegations in the future,” he said.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, in 2021, Cambodian exports to Malaysia topped $101 million, rising by 2.62 per cent compared to 2020, while imports passed $399 million, surging by 16.16 per cent year-on-year.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng told The Post that Malaysia has “good relations” with the Kingdom in terms of diplomacy, trade and investment.

As examples, Heng mentioned that many Cambodian workers are currently employed in Malaysia, and that a double taxation agreement between the two countries came into force on January 1, 2021.

He said the latest Malaysian delegation’s expression of interest in investing in Cambodia marks “another new hope” for the Kingdom’s economic growth as it continues to reinforce its investment legal regime and strike new bilateral and multilateral free trade deals.

According to the CDC, as of end-February, the council had booked 162 Malaysian-owned projects with total registered capital investment of about $3.2 billion. Major areas covered by these projects include agriculture, textiles, finance, real estate and construction, hotels, electricity and energy.