Saturday, October 10, 2009
"I, me and myself"?
Alternatives Watch – 10v09
Op-Ed by Ung Bun Ang
So, according to prime minister Hun Sen, as long as he remains at the top job there will be political stability in Cambodia. He makes this claim at the recent Second Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Siem Reap. And Hun Sen is probably right about the stability, considering the fact that oppositions are weak, disorganised, and unable to mount any credible challenges to him.
However, if it is true that the motive behind the claim is to impress new Japanese foreign minister Katsuya Okada for substantial Japanese investments in Cambodia, Hun Sen may be disappointed. His kind of stability that depends on him being there can, of course, attract certain businessmen who are seeking a quick profit with opportunities to move their capital in and out at short notice. It is a business operation that most suits fly-by-night or vulture companies that know who to bribe.
But serious foreign investors – the ones whom Council for Development of Cambodia secretary-general Sok Chenda says want to grow with the host country – may not share Hun Sen’s enthusiasm for his brand of stability the way he hopes they will. To them, the prime minister’s claim rings an alarm bell flagging a huge country risk, instead of a welcoming sign, when political stability of a country depends on an individual rather than institutions. They know there is a limit to how long a person can live, or can perform at optimum; only a strong institution can offer a lasting political stability that is conducive to long term business prosperity.