Malaysian envoy embarks on business fact-finding mission
Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia Eldeen Husaini Mohd Hashim has embarked on a fact-finding mission, visiting Malaysian companies to ascertain their needs, concerns and challenges, as he moves to improve bilateral trade and investment in the Kingdom.
In an exclusive interview with The Post, Eldeen said he has been assessing the concerns of Malaysian companies in Cambodia since he assumed his position on May 1.
He said meeting face-to-face with Malaysian businessmen and visiting their companies allows for frank discussions and exchange of ideas. Through these, Eldeen believes he can quickly ascertain how the embassy can best help them thrive in the Kingdom.
“I have had talks with several Malaysian companies in Cambodia. In general, they are very happy with the Royal government’s pro-business stance and its willingness to assist Malaysian businessmen to grow their operations in the Kingdom.
“And for those who have encountered difficulties, we will do our very best to assist in solving those difficulties.”
He said about 300 Malaysian companies are operating in Cambodia. They consist of small food and beverage startups to mega-corporations such as NagaWorld. The country has able investments in Cambodia valued at $2.7 billion in terms of fixed assets.
“In all, we have a healthy mix and of Malaysian companies and business interests in Cambodia. It reflects their dedication and never-say-die attitude. This is something we should all be proud of.
“Nevertheless, I am confident that the numbers could be further elevated and I have set my sights high to help further strengthen our business presence here. But first, we need to seriously look into the challenges and act to resolve them,” he said.
On the challenges itself, Eldeen said some Malaysians who wished to establish their business presence in Cambodia complained that they had encountered difficulties in establishing links with trustworthy local businesses, as well as important government agencies.
He said while this is understandable as they were new to the market, the embassy can help by taking proactive measures to link them with the local people, business personalities or officials who can assist to address their problems.
“Embassies are established not for the staff to warm their seats but to improve bilateral relationships and take them to a higher level. So when there are problems, we need to address them proactively and speedily too,” he stressed.
As for his plan of action, Eldeen said first, the embassy needed to establish the nature of the difficulties faced by the Malaysians. And this, he said, is multi-faceted.
“For example, if it is related to personnel or finding reliable local partners, then we will try to link them with reputable locals or other Malaysians that the embassy knows are trustworthy.
“If it is related to applying for official permits, approvals, adhering to local laws etc, the embassy will link them to the relevant officials and government agencies with whom we have established close contacts, and they will be able to offer the relevant advice.
“Besides being an intermediary, the embassy also has an advisory role. In this, we endeavour to provide our views and comments on doing business in Cambodia, harnessing the decades of experience that we have built since we were established here in 1969,” Eldeen said.
Ultimately, he said he hoped to build a family-like bond with Malaysian business personalities and individuals living and working in Cambodia to help further Malaysia’s interests as well.
Working together in the most sincere and close-knit environment, Eldeen says, is the best way to achieve this. “In time, Malaysian businesses may face other challenges which are not in our standard operating procedure to resolve.
“But having always had good diplomatic relations with Cambodian officials, I believe we are in a good position to help Malaysians address their common or nascent challenges through open dialogue with local authorities.
“This should help them grow their presence and investments in the Kingdom, especially considering that Cambodia has a very healthy gross domestic product of about seven per cent,” Eldeen said.