Billion-Dollar Day for Local, Malaysian Firms

Poultry farm linked to KFC among proposed business deals

Commercial deals reportedly worth a combined $1 billion are ex­pected to be finalized between Cambodian and Malaysian companies at a ceremony in Phnom Penh today, business and government of­ficials said yesterday.

The event will coincide with the three-day visit of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who arrived in Phnom Penh last night for his first official trip to Cambodia.

While details were scant yesterday, the Malaysian news agency Bernama reported Saturday that the private-sector agreements be­tween the two countries were valued at $1 billion and covered education, information communication technology security, produce deemed halal—or fit for consumption by Muslims—as well as agriculture, retail and training.

Mr Najib was to be joined by a retinue of over 100 Malaysian businessmen for meetings with their Cam­bodian counterparts, Bernama reported.

Kith Meng, president of the Phnom Penh Chamber of Commerce, said yesterday that a luncheon was to be held today for Mr Najib and his business delegation.

“I think [the Malaysian businesses] are looking to have more investment under the stable government in place in Cambodia,” Mr Meng said, adding that a “dialogue” session between the countries’ business executives would also occur today.

Mr Meng, who is chairman of Royal Group, said one of the expected deals to be signed off on today was the creation of a poultry farm in Cambodia by Malaysian retail food giant QSR, which is the operator of KFC outlets in Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and Cambodia.

The outlets in Cambodia are run by a joint venture between QSR, Royal Group and the Hong Kong-incorporated Rightlink Corp.

“I cannot say any more,” Mr Meng said, when asked about his connection to the Malaysian deal.

Yesterday, Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said he was aware of the deals and believed that the investment would be a huge plus for the Cambodia economy.

“I have only heard about the deals through the media and do not yet have final information,” Mr Siphan said. “They will be very important for Cambodia after the financial crisis.”

A Malaysian trade official, who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said that, contrary to Malaysian news reports, Mr Najib would not be present for the handover of documents relating to the business deals.

“The memorandums of understanding will be done after he leaves the luncheon,” the official said.

During his three-day stay in Cambodia, Mr Najib is due to meet for talks with Mr Hun Sen, King Norodom Sihamoni, Senate President Chea Sim and National Assembly President Heng Samrin.

“The Prime Minister’s visit to Cambodia emphasizes the importance which Malaysia attaches to its relationship with this country,” the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Friday.


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