“We try our best, and we don’t come here to damage the life of the people... People here are very poor and uneducated and they have no health care or food, but we come and cut the bad trees and make better forests and make a better life for the people... If we see a very poor forest we cut it and build another one [rubber plantation] so that the new one can support the life of the people.... When we invest in Cambodia the target is not just profit but to improve the life of the people in our concessions. That comes from our heart and we care a lot about this... When we come here, we bring a new life [to the people]... [Our company plans] to stay here for ‘a long time’.”
“We do not log timber but we have agreements with companies and they log the timber and sell it. So we don’t do the logging.”
Nguyen Tan Anh, assistant to the chairman of HAGL (Hoang Anh Gai Lai) Company, 22 November 2013
Sound Familiar? Well, after saving Cambodian lives in 1979, it is time to improve their miserable livelihood, by chopping off the bad trees, and giving them better forests. It is a long term commitment so a long term stay is a must.
Of course, it is not for maximum profit; heaven forbids. The HAGL Company controls a mere 40,000 hectares of land concessions, even though the Hun Sen law allows only 10,000 hectares.
Indeed, there is no need for HAGL to do any logging. It has a string of subsidiary companies to do the job for it, which Nguyen Tan Anh claims relieves his holding company of all responsibility for deforestation.
Now the company sees some Cambodians as being poor and uneducated. This begs the question: What type of Cambodians the company sees as being stupid?