Investors who aren’t serious are the last things Cambodia needs to develop its economy, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday at a public forum on investment.
“I have wasted so much time to welcome business delegations and foreign investors who were not serious,” the premier said.
In the past, many foreigners have pledged to invest in Cambodia, but did little or nothing to make the projects materialize, Hun Sen said.
“They just came and told me that they would invest this and that. But later, nothing happened,” Hun Sen said. “Don’t leave my land like a widow.”
His remarks came as a response to a comment made by Malaysian Ambassador Ahmad Anuar, who said many Malaysians are interested in investing in the agro-industry and other businesses. He recommended that the government develop a systematic way of providing information to investors on Cambodia’s agriculture.
Malaysia is the top investor in Cambodia on paper, pledging more than $1.8 billion in capital for various projects, according to the Council for the Development of Cambodia.
In Cambodia’s peak investment year of 1995, about $2.2 billion was pledged by various investors, with $1.4 billion coming from Malaysian investors.
However, the CDC has said only 10 percent of the total promised projects in 1995 have been active.
Hun Sen said the land given to inactive investors should be returned to the state, which can give the land to local villagers or to other good investors.
“If you do not follow the business agreements, the government will automatically take your deposits and cancel the contracts,” the prime minister said.