The National Assembly unanimously approved on Sept 11 a draft law that will set the ground rules for the proposed Cambodian Securities Market and establish the body that will regulate it.
Seventy-nine lawmakers from all three political parties raised their hands in support of the 58-article Law on the Issuance and Trading of Non-Government Securities after only two days of debating. If signed into law, the legislation will create the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia, which will be charged with regulating the planned stock and bond markets.
Following the Assembly’s vote, Finance Minister Keat Chhon told the lawmakers that every effort would be made to have the Cambodian exchange open in 2009.
“I am committed on behalf of the government, I will try to have the Cambodian Securities Market by 2009 as anticipated,” he said.
SRP President Sam Rainsy reiterated his fears that the SECC might be subject to government interference. According to the draft law, six of the commission’s nine members will be government officials.
“In order to have the securities market work well the government should not interfere,” Sam Rainsy said.
The SECC will have to be very strict to ensure that listed companies release accurate information, Sam Rainsy said, adding that this process has to start with the commission being very selective about which enterprises it will allow to issue securities. He added that the government should also allow foreign brokerage firms to do business in Cambodia.
Keat Chhon responded that it was important for government officials to be on the SECC because the prime minister and the relevant ministries have to be aware of the commission’s activities.
The government has prepared a system to ensure that companies will not be able to cheat the public by releasing false information, Keat Chhon said, adding that foreign brokers will be allowed to operate in Cambodia.