Mercer has just released the 21st edition of its annual Quality of Living index and Cambodia's Phnom Penh fell rock bottom on the list of ASEAN cities that offer the highest rates of individual security. However, statistics reveal that the city's expat community is flourishing.  

According to Consultancy Asia News, Mercer listed the Cambodian capital as the least of cities in the world that provide a sense of personal safety for residents. This is the first time the human capital consultancy group added personal safety in its ranking categories.

Slagin Parakatil, a Mercer principal, noted that individual security rankings are based on a wide array of aspects, especially since conditions in every country change through the years.

"These factors are crucial for multinationals to consider when sending employees abroad because they consider any concerns around the expat's own safety and can have a significant impact on the cost of international compensation programmes," he explained.

Under the ASEAN region, Singapore ranked first in overall personal security while, globally, Louxembourg placed first. Over 450 cities around the world were studied to obtain the rankings, Mercer said. Other Southeast Asian cities found at the bottom of the list are Thailand's Bangkok, Indonesia's Jakarta, and the Philippines' Manila.

Despite increased scrutiny over safety measures in Cambodia's Phnom Penh City, the expat community is said to be growing. Majority of the country's overall expat community is reportedly found in the city due to lots of job opportunities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that help expatriates navigate their lives in the Asian country.

Furthermore, Phnom Penh continues to build its economy through new infrastructure projects and business opportunities. Construction for the massive Phnom Penh-Preah Sihanouk expressway begins today, March 22, as part of the local government's efforts in improving the city's quality of living for both foreign workers or residents and native Cambodians.

The Khmer Times reported that Cambodia's first expressway is expected to ease traffic around the National Road 4 area, the site known as the busiest in the country. Engineers said the project will take four years before completion but once finished, it will link Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville's port where major export and import activities are held.

The China Road and Bridge Corporation will build the expressway under Prime Minister Hun Sen's approval. Company Vice President, Weng Gang, said on Wednesday that the Phnom Penh expressway will largely contribute to Cambodia's overall economy and will elevate living standards in the city.