Thank you for bringing Rod Brazier's thoughtful "final reflections" on Cambodia ("A Future in the Balance", May 21) to the wider audience it deserves. As the Asia Foundation's outgoing country director, his opinions will rightly command respect, and his insights are valuable to those of us, whether newcomers or old hands, who live and work in Cambodia.
However, his allegation that "The rush by business groups and others to condemn the EIU [see the Economist Intelligence Unit's report "Manning the Barricades" released March 19; see also the Post article "Financial crisis puts country at high risk of unrest: EIU", March 23] was equally unhelpful and merely nourished an incorrect perception" must be challenged. Firstly, there was very little "rush". In fact, the
International Business Club of Cambodia, which was the first business group to respond, took more than a week to carefully consider the matter before doing so, and our arguments were well rehearsed in our open letter in the Post on March 31.
As to the actions of the business groups nourishing "an incorrect perception", Cambodia has suffered for far too long from incorrect perceptions that undermine the tremendous progress the country has made over the last few years towards rebuilding its image as a worthy member of the international community and a potential destination for foreign investment.
As the story was already out in the open, it is somewhat naive to expect it to go unchallenged. If unfair and inaccurate descriptions of Cambodia are made, particularly by reputable organisations like the EIU, then a response must be made on the record.
If there is no response, these allegations are then treated as fact and will be repeated elsewhere, becoming part of the historical landscape of the country. And prospective investors examine reports such as that published by the EIU when they are making a country risk assessment prior to making their decision whether to invest in Cambodia.
Therefore, the prime minister was correct to respond, and so, too, was the International Business Club.
A lack of response from those whose interests lie in promoting Cambodia's trade and investment potential to the outside world would have been plainly irresponsible.
Bretton G Sciaroni, Chairman
The International Business
Club of Cambodia
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