The people of Cambodia may not agree with the economic performance projections by outsiders. Yes, many politicians said these projected figures are not accurate, but what is important now is the welfare and well-being of the people.
The government - regardless of numbers - still needs to do a lot of things to make people happier. People need to have jobs to earn money; the inflation rate needs to be low; children must be able to go to schools; the crime rate cannot be escalating; tourists have to keep coming; etc.
To achieve all this, the government needs to do a lot. Of course, with a limited budget, the government is not able to launch a major stimulus plan. However, the government has another way to boost the present economy. As a Malaysian who has resided here for about two years, I would like to put forward what we did in the last financial crisis.
Our former Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, privatised a lot of projects by selling assets owned by the government.
The results were obvious: More jobs were created, and more money was circulated in the market. Thus, without the government spending a single cent, the market became more active.
In fact, the government's coffers grew as private companies helped generate extra income.
Can the Kingdom of Cambodia do the same? Of course.
There is a long list of the assets or services that can be privatised to stimulate the economy. In Malaysia, even the hospital laundry service was privatised.
There are a number of roads, ports and government agencies that can be privatised. As a foreigner who has done business here for the past two years, I do not like the services of the government agencies here. With privatisation of some of these units, companies can provide much better services to the people.
There are people who claim that privatisation will bring extra cost to the users. However, with the improvement of efficiency and productivity, not all privatisation will bring extra cost to the users. I also strongly believe that in most cases, the users are willing to pay a fee for better and faster services.
With privatisation, the private companies will increase their productivity to increase their profit. So we will see more innovative solutions.
Development would be faster, costs would drop, efficiency would improve and more services would be available to the public.
I agree that driving through a plan to sell any government assets requires exceptional political will. To sell government assets in the right way and to the right people at the right price is very crucial to making privatisation a success.
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