H.E. Kitti Tesaphibal Binditto Workers and Employers of OIJ Group Investment – “Three big tasks to create jobs to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives” [Unofficial Translation]


[…] Cambodia’s goal is to reduce people’s poverty and improve the lives of our people across the country. Not just for (wealth of the) companies, investors or capitalists. We need to invest […] to expand the nation’s potential […] to improve the lives of our current 17 million people. An important task in reducing poverty is to create jobs. In my opinion, the creation of this job is aimed at […] doing 3 big things […]

Firstly – (increase) quantity (or number of jobs). Quantity (of work) is we do not have to concentrate only in Phnom Penh, not to concentrate in (only) Sihanoukville or (only in) any particular place. (Job) quantity is the goal to create more jobs and push jobs to the grassroots. This is an important task.

From the early 1990s, this area here was a rice field […] here is a small National Road 4 […] at that time, our government began with privatization. We gave people the right to buy and sell land, while (the Roya Government was) opening (up for) investment […] there was then a lot of criticism that Cambodia was selling land […] (many) Cambodians sold land to the Chinese or to foreigners. There was a lot of attack and criticism. But if we did not open the market, we would have neither special economic zone here nor jobs for more than 30,000 workers, and no millions of dollars in salaries that go into the pockets of the people in this area or in every other province, especially Kampong Speu and Kandal. (We will have investment) not only (for here), but we (will) push (investment) everywhere now.

The day before, I went to Bavet (of Svay Rieng province), to Kampong Cham, to Takeo province, and to Oddar Meanchey. Wherever we go, we have (seen investments). We do not promote only in one province or in one sector. We delegate investments to provinces with different potential. Where there is agricultural potential, we promote the evolution of agriculture. Where there is potential in the development of tourism, we encourage development in the tourism industry. Where there is possibility for heavy and medium industry, technically, we try to push there. We do what we can to ncreate more jobs, create places with potential and push to the grassroots so that our children have jobs.

Promoting job creation in all areas is a very important task. (Job) quantity (or number of jobs) need to be increased, pushed to the grassroots, pushed to suit our economic potential, and to offer right to our people to equip themselves with knowledge, vocational training and other skills (so that they can) find works with the private sector […]

Secondly, (jobs) quality. We need to pay attention and encourage a business or type of investment that (support jobs with quality). For job quality, I have five points:

  1. (Need to have) investment with a clear and long-term strategy. This is the quality of the investment. (It means that investors) do not just invest to make a profit and take it away […] take for instance this OJI Group, which has invested US$ 30 million and planned to expand the import of modern equipment to train human resources. They are not here today and take off tomorrow. This is the kind of investment we want in Cambodia. (It is) not just (investment that) buys land and sell it. We want development on the spot to promote the national economy by participating in the job creation.
  2. Provide opportunities for workers to receive good salaries and benefits, along with the possibilities and opportunities for them to increase their capacity, this is the investment we want. Some of the young workers here might have been working in some garment factories in the past. Today you come (to work) in a factory that uses a lot of automation machines. Fewer people, more machines. In your past experience, there were fewer machines and more people. (Take for instance) garment factories need a lot of people. In this development, we are learning new and advanced skills combined with our salaries. This is what we wanted to have.
    Building human resources is not just about learning in school. It is about real work. If we create an investment attraction that promotes education, training, technology, this is like creating a school for our children, for our workers. That will evolve them from being the garment factory workers to do something else.
  3. Invest and create jobs that provide protection of rights and care for the well-being of all, especially for workers. In order to take care of the people and create jobs, we cannot let him(investors) think only of the salary. (They must) think about welfare protection. They are our citizen and each factory is strong because the workers are healthy, well-off and motivated to work.
    I am especially thankful to the Japanese companies. So many of the Japanese companies set the standard in this care (about well-being). Such investments create competition, establish working habits of management with a focus on workers. The Royal Government wants to create quality jobs for workers, […] whose main goal is to reduce poverty. Poverty is not just a matter of money, but (including) being lack of protection, healthcare and everything else […]
  4. Investment must pay attention to the environment, community and society. Investing is not just about money. To put it in simple words, we do not look to income regardless of the impact on those around us […] in the special economic zone, our management governs the environment, the discharge of sewage, and we have a clear need to ensure protection […] protect the environment, avoid negative impact on the people around and even give attention in return to society. This is the investment we want.
    At the moment, the CEO of OJI Group has said it very clearly […] OJI not only came to set up a production line, to create jobs here, but also contributed to society, namely assisted the TYDA (Techo Youth Doctors Association). Thank you very much. In addition, OJI not only helps TYDA doctors (but) also helps the workers first, giving them a chance to get a good salary, a decent place to work, good welfare […]
    Secondly, participation through various social policies that the company shares. I want such a company and our country must follow this pattern […] the Royal Government will look into the possibility of encouraging private investment companies, both domestic and foreign, to help in caring for the environment and our society, because this is a work that we need to work together […]
  5. Strengthening and enhancing labor productivity through the import of modern technology and strengthening the new way of working. Thus, international companies not only invest in capital but also bring in advanced technology, both hardware and software. Hardware is the mechanical equipment that is brought in. Software is a way of managing management skills. This is important for training and sharing to Cambodia’s managers and resources so that we can lead the management of the company […] to a standard that can compete internationally, or even if we do not have to compete, in this (production chain) we can modernize management.

I think the management using these five points is a factor that determines whether an investment or a business is a business with quality, which we mean the quality of employment, the quality of the environment, the quality of comfort, the quality of law enforcement, the quality of contribution and the strengthening of the working system and technology in Cambodia.

Thirdly, apart from jobs quantity and quality, it is equityEquitable investment requires both employers and employees to play a key role in shaping the economy and the private sector. If we think only of only either one, it will not work. If we only think about the company, we do not think about the workers, we will have a hard time. If we force workers not to think about the welfare and the law to protect our people, we are in trouble. If we only think about the workers, we do not think about creating conditions for the company to operate, such as providing various incentives, we find it difficult because they would not be staying here any longer. They are gone.

In that case, investors cannot expand. Therefore, the work is limited. We do not hold anyone’s foot. We hold the feet of our entire nation. Hold the interests of the whole nation, both economically and for the benefit of the people, especially workers. In this sense, what does the government do? Equity is what we need to ensure to harmonize between employers and employees. We need to set out laws to encourage and protect workers along the line that both parties can work together to help each other and love each other.

Hence, the Royal Government is on to encouraging and making this investment equitable, aiming to benefit both parties, so that both parties can be happy and work together. If both parties are happy (what will we achieve)? (We will have the) benefit for the society, the economy, as more people have jobs, have clear protection, increase salaries, and reduce poverty […]./.