Sun Chanthol, first vice-president of the Council of the Development of Cambodia (CDC), encouraged entrepreneur members of the Malay World Islam World (DMDI) to consider investing in the Kingdom, highlighting the many incentives in place to reward economic opportunities in the country.

Chanthol, who is also a deputy prime minister, made the call while addressing the 21st DMDI conference in Phnom Penh on September 23.

The organisation – known as Dunia Melayu Dunia Islam in Malay – was formed to contribute to socio-economic development across the globe through the participation of investors and businesspeople from its member countries, often in halal industries, according to a CDC press release.

Chanthol described the Cambodian workforce as young and energetic, noting that the government is also paying close attention to encouraging women entrepreneurs.

“Cambodia is in the centre of ASEAN and in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), with access to a population of over 650 million, as well as being a member of several economic partnerships and other free trade agreements [FTAs]. More importantly, we are developing key infrastructure, both within the country and to connect us to our neighbours, and also provide a positive investment environment,” he added.

He explained that the government has the vision of modernising industrial structures from labour-intensive ones to specialised industries by 2025. It will accomplish the transition through connectivity to global value chains, integration into regional production chains, strengthened competitiveness and productivity of domestic industries and the development of modern industries, based on technology and data.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng said on September 24 that the private sector has always welcomed investors, with the government supporting this through wide-open, non-prejudiced investment policies.

“There are a lot of Muslims in Cambodia and they are very much taken care of by our government,” he explained.

“I think it would be good to have more investment in halal industries in Cambodia, as it would make it easier for Muslims to import grocery items and even produce halal-certified food,” he added.

A registered NGO formed in Malaysia in 2000, the DMDI aims to strengthen solidarity between member countries and the Muslim community, especially businesspeople, and promote cooperation in several sectors.

They include community development, education, youth and sports, science and technology, multiculturalism, women’s development, tourism, health and hygiene, and information technology.

The organisation has 22 other members: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines, Timor-Leste, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, China, Saudi Arabia, England, Madagascar, Australia, South Africa, Egypt, the Netherlands, the Maldives, Canada, Bosnia and Herzegovina, New Zealand, , and Suriname.

Cambodia became a member of the organisation in 2012.