COMMENT | Since Najib Abdul Razak became the sixth prime minister of Malaysia on April 3, 2009, he has kept himself busy with so many mega-projects. By the same token, he also kept many papers close to his chest.
However, the main questions are these: Do Malaysians benefit from such-and-such a project? Or is it a case of public spending that would result in the outflow of funds from the country’s economic cycle? Why only foreigners seem to benefit? What’s left for locals?
Many of us would like to believe that all of these massive transport infrastructure projects such as the High-Speed Rail between KL and Singapore, the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and Gemas-JB KTMB double tracking project are meant to improve our country’s connectivity, increase the capacity of transport and logistics services and shorten our journey times between all these places.
At the same time, these transport infrastructure projects will also actually drive our economy forward, lead our country to perform better logistically and make Malaysia more efficient and possibly more competitive, too.
Economically speaking, Najib is taking the approach to drive the economy, known as public sector spending, as opposed to relying on a private sector-driven economy. At billions of dollars apiece, these projects better be good and functioning, otherwise the government would be blamed for their failure.
How true is it that ECRL, for instance, has a good potential to be a white elephant upon its completion?...