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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tan Chong to distribute Nissan CBUs in Cambodia

KUALA LUMPUR: TAN CHONG MOTOR HOLDINGS BHD []'s wholly-owned subsidiary ETCM (C) Pty Ltd, has secured the exclusive rights to distribute Nissan vehicles in Cambodia.

In a statement on Thursday, March 11, Tan Chong said its subsidiary has entered into a distribution agreement with Nissan Motor Co Ltd to solely distribute completely built-up (CBU) vehicles in Cambodia.

ETCM also was given the right to appoint dealers to sell the vehicles and/or perform after-sales services.

"The expansion of the group's 50-year alliance with Nissan Motor into the vehicle market in Cambodia provides a strategic benefit to spread our Nissan business outside of Malaysia to tap into emerging markets," Tan Chong said in the statement on Thursday.

Our local knowledge of the region will add value to Nissan's global brand presence in Asean in line with further Afta market liberalisation," Tan Chong said in the statement.

The total financial commitment for the new Nissan business in Cambodia for the first five years of operation, including setting up of showrooms and working capital, is estimated at US$5 million (RM16.6 million), to be funded by Tan Chong group from its internal sources.

The distribution is expected to commence by 2Q10, with initial sales volume estimated at 200 units a year.

"The new business venture is not expected to contribute significantly to the group's revenue and profit for FY10 ending Dec 31, but is expected to contribute positively to the earnings of the group in the long term," the statement added.
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Cambodia passes controversial anti-graft law

By Prak Chan Thul

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodia's parliament passed a controversial anti-graft law on Thursday, with the government unmoved by protests from rights groups and opposition politicians who say the legislation will entrench official corruption.

The National Assembly, dominated by the ruling Cambodian People's Party, voted in favour of the long-awaited bill despite calls from the United Nations and civil society groups to postpone the vote so the public could be consulted.

Lawmakers from the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) walked out in protest at what they said was a law that lacked transparency and would deter individuals from reporting corruption.

Critics also complained the law did not require government officials or their spouses to declare their assets, which they said would promote illegal practices.

"This is a law to protect corruption," SRP spokesman and lawmaker Yim Sovann told reporters as he joined the walkout. "It doesn't mean anything. The people have not been involved in the fight against corruption."

Yim Sovann said the legislation did not guarantee members of a yet-to-be appointed Anti-Corruption National Council would be independent of the government.

He also joined rights groups in condemning a clause under which whistle-blowers making corruption allegations could be jailed for up to six months if their claims could not be proven.

Cambodia has come under fire over its strict defamation laws, which rights groups and opposition lawmakers say are being used to stifle criticism of the government.

Corruption is rife and the payment of bribes is part and parcel of doing business in the impoverished Southeast Asian country, from one-off payments to state officials to guarantees of lucrative contracts or shares of company profits.

Graft watchdog Transparency International last year ranked Cambodia 158th out of 180 countries in terms of corruption, with a low-ranking denoting high instances of graft.

The United Nations had expressed concern about the bill, which took 15 years to draft, and had urged the government to provide more time for the public, aid donors and civil society to scrutinise the legislation before it was passed.

In a statement released on Wednesday, before the law was approved, it said the draft should undergo a "transparent and participatory consultation process" and "contain sufficient safeguards to protect the rights and duties of Cambodian people who will be the ultimate beneficiaries".

Deputy Prime Minister Sok An countered criticism of the draft in parliament and defended the clause that punished whistle-blowers whose claims could not be proven.

"It is not just Cambodia that prevents the issue of causing trouble or launching attacks on individuals," Sok An said.
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