C AMBODIA will soon have a Chamber of Commerce, for the first time in 20
Applications to stand for election to the chamber closed on Aug
23, and candidates have two weeks to conduct their election campaigns before a
vote is held on Sept 8.
Twenty-four people will be elected - eight from
the trade sector, eight from industry, four from the service sector and one from
agricultural - to a six-year term on the chamber.
A chairman and a
vice-chairman will be elected from among the 24.
The key contenders for
the chairman's position are: Ted Ngoy, owner of the King Group real estate
agency; Kong Triv, an Oknha (nobleman, a title given by the King) and owner of
the Cambodian Tobacco Company; Phu Kok An, managing-director of Anco Brothers;
Srey Leang Chheang, general-director of the Chimex Import-Export company; and
Oknha Teng Boon Ma, owner of the Thai Boon Rong company.
of Commerce rules, candidates are barred from defaming or accusing each other,
holding parades or "luring" voters and conducting public surveys. They are
supposed to campaign only about their success, achievements and
As of last week, some 200 businesspeople have registered to
vote in the elections.
The Chamber of Commerce, under the direct control
of the Ministry of Commerce, is expected to act as a bridge between the
government, private sector and foreign investors.
It will advise
prospective foreign investors, put them in contact with local companies and give
information on government licensing regulations.
One local businessman,
not standing for election, told the Post he hoped the chamber would help to
smooth out problems between the government and businesspeople.
government licensing procedures could be streamlined and corruption
Lu Lay Sreng, Secretary of State of Ministry of Commerce, said
the chamber was unlikely to be able to eliminate corruption by 100 per
But he said the chamber would serve a vital role in making it
easier for foreign investors to get information about business opportunities in
Another ministry official, asked about whether chamber
officials were likely to make decisions and give advice which favored their own
businesses over their competitors, said that could not be avoided.
human nature to act in one's own interests, he said, but people on the chamber
would be required to work to help all businesspeople. If they did not, they
would be open to criticism and opposition from others.
for the chairman's position spoken to by the Post said that, if they won, they
would concentrate on improving relations between foreign and local
Ted Ngoy said that, as well as making it easier for foreign
investors to get advice, he would concentrate on offering training to Cambodian
small business entrepreneurs.
Teng Boon Ma said he would send local
businesspeople overseas to study foreign practices, and invite foreign experts
to visit Cambodia.
Kong Triv, who also wanted to help exchange ideas
between foreign and Cambodian firms, claimed he was confident of winning the
"I don't need to campaign because people in the city know me
well," he said.
The chairman's job will be unpaid, like all the chamber's
positions, and likely to be full-time.
Singapore, Malaysia, the United
States, the European Union and the United Nations Industrial Development
Organization will assist the Chamber of Commerce with technical advice, staff
training, office equipment and vehicles.