I am also at unease with very derogatory and explicit words of Kith Meng in an interview “From ATMs to fried chicken” (PPP, Oct. 06, 2008). But I understand Roger Mitton’s intention to maintaining original version articulated by Kith Meng.
In his speech, Kith Meng is understandable as a very aggressive capitalist. He elaborated many aspects instrumental to those who wish to succeed business. Ranging his business from financial marketing to food shop of KFC, Kith Meng might not forget the theory of economic efficiency saying that “it cannot make someone better off without making someone else worse off”. His incremental profit with businesses expanding feasibly narrowed inequity or continue benefiting at the expense of Cambodian poor.
Cambodia’s current economics is experiencing equilibrium inefficiency. There is no balance of supplying (producer) and demanding (purchaser). According to AFP, 35 percent of 14 millions of Cambodian people are living on less than 50 cent US a day. Cambodian officers and teachers are living on their government wage of about 40US per month. This is not included 83 percent Cambodian farmers, the major social stratum of Cambodia are living on daily subsistence life. The power of purchasing is vulnerably incompetent.
How Cambodian people can survive amid current skyrocketing inflation and world’s financial crisis?
The questions needed to be answered from those tycoons are: do they continue their extreme business monopoly? How much have they cared of social externalities including social inequity? How much their business has been activated to alleviate poor through social entrepreneurship? Do they prefer property right and regulations to have fair bidding in marketing, or they prefer current ongoing lack of good governance in order to boost their profit?
I do believe in Kith Meng’s conscience in complying with business morals and advance himself as business role model in Cambodia. In order to achieve his likely high standard of business morals, he will play important role to future Cambodian politics and economics. Instrumental policy for fair business and help alleviate inequity mainly stands on property right, government subsidy and direct provision, taxation, and regulations etc If in the future, Cambodia doesn’t enforce and comply with these principles there will be widening inequity and jeopardize the whole nation.