In the last 12 months, the PM has announced the creation of 5 regional corridors for economic development. These corridors cost a combined sum of RM1.1 trillion over the next 18 years. I cannot fathom the PM's preoccupation with corridors or huge industrial parks.
I have warned in a number of my articles, commentaries and talks about over investment in real estate. Most of the corridors are mainly real estate driven. Investments into Iskandar Development Region (IDR) are mainly real estate related. IDR has failed to attract any significant high tech investment because there is no supporting industries (OEM) available there.
PM Abdullah has just announced some cost cutting measures which will be implemented by the government. He expected some cost savings of RM2 billion. Cutting down on unnecessary conferences, festivals and events are step in the right direction. Most importantly, the government must curb CORRUPTION in the administration.
Karim Singh has uncovered a few illegal logging incidents at several forest reserve areas in Cameron Highlands dated back from 2002. It is amazing how the Cameron Highlands Forest Reserve enforcement team can miss what happened right in front of their nose. Either they must have slept on their job or something else. This is just one example of inefficiency which cost us greatly.
Hence, the government should scale down the corridors. Investors are not merely attracted to new industrial parks. They are looking for vibrancy in an economy. We need entrepreneurial, skillful and knowledgeable work force. Archaic socio-economic policies which favour a particular race must be dismantled and replaced by those based on needs.
If Malaysia wants to learn how to compete effectively again, some liberalisation and change of mindset must take place.
Forget the corridors, just fix the policies and governance standards and things will take care of themselves.