Sunday, 15 November 2009

No fuss about ex-PM's move

Published: 15/11/2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

PHNOM PENH : The appointment of Thaksin Shinawatra as Cambodia's economic adviser and his four-day visit may have enraged the Thai government, but Cambodian media think differently.

"It [Thaksin's appointment] is normal for this country, which has had many foreign economic advisers, including South Korean President Lee Myung-bak," said Ky Soklim, a freelance reporter.

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen named Mr Lee, who is a former chief executive officer of manufacturing giant Hyundai Engineering, as his special economic adviser in 2000.

By the time Mr Lee was elected president last year, which saw him end his role as Hun Sen's adviser, South Korea had become the second-largest investor in Cambodia.

Ky Soklim said he fully threw his support behind the appointment of Thaksin because he believed he would help pull a lot of people in his country out of poverty.

"We want someone to help draw more investment into Cambodia and we believe he is able to do that," he said.

When asked why the Phnom Penh administration did not appoint a Cambodian to the position, he said the government needed some experienced foreigners to help develop the economy.

Eng Vutha, a reporter from Rasami Angkor newspaper, said "appointing a foreigner to be my country's economic adviser is not a new thing here. Why does Thailand blow up this issue?"

He urged the Thai government to review its diplomatic relations with Cambodia as quickly as possible for the benefit of the two countries.

Chao Bun Hao, a reporter from Sin Chew daily newspaper, said Thailand should treat the matter as a minor issue.

"In Cambodia, people see there is nothing behind this appointment," said Hao.

Hao said to solve diplomatic problems, the Thai and Cambodian governments must meet mid-way. More importantly, the two countries must try to avoid doing anything that might affect their relations even further.

He said Cambodia is a poor country, so it needed to learn from other people with good experience and apply it to economic development.

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