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
A more balanced view of the investment climate would be appreciated.
- Anthony Ainsworth, General Manager, IMIC