Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hun Sen: Factory workers can live without jobs [-Is the good Dr. Hun Xen becoming completely blind to Cambodia’s economy?]

(Photo: Bloomberg)

10 March 2009
By Hassan
Radio Free Asia
Translated from Khmer by Socheata

"Houses in Cambodia are not put into the auction block yet, unlike other countries that are facing financial crisis in 1997, therefore we are still continuing to develop" - Dr Hun Sen, PhD from Hanoi and the Irish International University
It turns out that the economy in small countries which, economists professed that it allows these countries to become independent from foreign aid, starts to be affected by the economic crisis occurring in developed nations, and Cambodian government officials start to recognize this fact as well.

In the past, Cambodian government officials used to say that economic crisis in Western countries will not seriously affect Cambodia’s economy because Cambodia’s economy is small.
In the garment sector, the World Bank issued a report on Sunday, indicating that Cambodia lost more than 30,000 jobs in this sector because factories are closing their door in Cambodia. The reason for these closures is because of the drop in foreign garment orders.

The World Bank wrote that 94 of the 116 countries on the verge of development are facing economic slowdown.

Nevertheless, Prime minister Hun Sen believes that Cambodian factory workers can still live even if they are jobless. Hun Sen said: “Compared to factory closures other countries, factory closures in Cambodia are very bad, but when compared to other countries, the closing of factories in those country leads to more danger than us, why? This is very easy to understand in Cambodia: these factories are newly opened, some are 4-5 years old, and some of the factories in Kampong Speu are only 2-3 years old. Therefore, when workers are jobless, they can return back to their villages right away. Since they just left their farming not too long ago, their rice fields are waiting for them, as well their parents, their families. Their families, their parents live on those lands, those houses.”

Hun Sen is not concerned about Cambodia’s economy

When the world is facing with an economic crisis, their leaders are looking for means to pull it up so that investors have confidence and are willing to invest in the businesses. In doing so, these investors are creating more jobs for people, and bringing income for people to spend.

In the US for example, the government is spending billions of dollars to provide help to companies that are facing major losses. The government is also helping their citizens cope with the situation by lowering income taxes, as well as providing stimulus funds to each family.

On the other hand, in Cambodia, if people are jobless, the government does provide any safety net to help these jobless workers live for a while at all.

In his comparison between the Cambodian and the foreign economies on Monday, Hun Sen seems to indicate that there is no issue of concerns for him. Hun Sen said: “The industry is pushing forward so that the factories and the companies that are working will also move forward. In the construction sector, even though there is some drop, but there is no construction sites that are abandoned. The construction of row houses and large buildings is still moving forward, the construction of hotels is still continuing, additional (grading) trucks are added in the construction sector. They said that the economy is slowing down, but if you go buy a house, they wouldn’t lower the price for you. Houses in Cambodia are not put into the auction block yet, unlike other countries that are facing financial crisis in 1997, therefore we are still continuing to develop.”

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