21st Century Malaysia – Aired May 2009
Consisting of two regions separated by some 1000 kilometers of the South China Sea, Malaysia has profited from its location at a crossroads of trade between the East and West, a tradition that carries into the 21st century.
Capitalizing on its geographic location in the heart of Asia, Malaysia has been able to transform its economy from an agriculture and mining base in the early 1970s to a high-tech competitive nation. Malaysia is well on the way to achieving its goal of becoming a fully industrialized country by the year 2020.
Malaysia thrives on a history that has integrated a multitude of foreign elements for almost two centuries, fusing them into a unique national identity. The nation today recognizes each ethnic group’s importance to the heritage of the land, each adding unique contributions to a culture and identity we know as Malaysian.
The government of Malaysia actively continues to manage the development and industrialization of the economy. This includes facilitating infrastructure projects through significant investment and implementing a variety of policies to bolster the overall economic environment.
TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Malaysia’s central location in the Asia Pacific region makes it an ideal gateway to the continental market, and its persistent drive to develop and upgrade its infrastructure has resulted in one of the most well-developed among the newly industrialized countries of Asia.
Malaysia’s ultra-modern Kuala Lumpur International Airport, or KLIA, voted by independent bodies as the best airport in the world, is the nation’s largest. We ask Dato’ Seri Bashir Ahmad, the CEO of Malaysia Airports, how this was achieved.
Kuala Lumpur is served by a number of international airlines, including almost every major Asian carrier. Within Malaysia, the national airline, Malaysian Airlines, provides frequent service to all major cities, as does low-cost competitor Air Asia.
West Malaysia’s network of well-maintained highways link the population to major cities throughout the peninsula and provide an efficient means of transportation for goods. The construction of the North-South Expressway, managed by PLUS Expressways Berhad, has become a model to the rest of Asia of proper and efficient highway infrastructure.
MEDICAL TOURISM AND HEALTHCARE
Malaysia is globally-renowned as an excellent tourist destination. Over the last few years, however, the country has also jumped on the bandwagon of medical tourism, offering world-class medical facilities and services at low-costs. Malaysia has gained a reputation as one of the preferred locations for medical tourism and healthcare tours by virtue of its highly-efficient medical staff and modern healthcare facilities. It is said that one of the hallmarks of a progressive nation is its level of healthcare, and medical expertise in Malaysia ranks among the best in the world. Since 1981, KPJ Healthcare Berhad has raised the standards of healthcare services in the country. With a network of 18 hospitals, it is one of the largest.
People from around the world visit Malaysia for the purpose of medical treatment, both those looking for critical treatment as well as people in need of cosmetic and preventative care. From cosmetic to cardiac surgery, KPJ has become synonymous with quality in all specialities. We talk to some of the experts in the field.
KPJ also runs KPJ International College of Nursing and Health Sciences, or PNC, which is the first private nursing college in Malaysia, and is a reflection of the company’s second core business: education.
Having moved up the value chain and established itself as a true international player, Malaysia is now turning its attention towards enhancing its human capital. Education is a priority of the Federal Government of Malaysia and in line with greater focus on human development a big budget has been allocated for the expenditure of education and training.
Clearly, universities have to adapt to the ever changing needs of society if they are to remain relevant and contribute to human capital development. One university that has taken a proactive step to raise the standards of higher education for a sustainable tomorrow is Universiti Sains Malaysia.
Professor Dato Dzulkifli Abdul Razak believes that as economies become increasingly sophisticated, institutions of higher education need to re-evaluate their roles as suppliers of knowledge beyond the existing educational frameworks.
Malaysia is a welcome assault on the senses, a cultural fusion of colors, smells and flavors combined with year-round pleasant weather. It boasts some of the most superb beaches in Asia, mountains and national parks, and a strong mix of people. The country is also a testament to its strong historical influences, from the colonial architecture of the UNESCO World Heritage cities of Georgetown and Melaka, and to its bright, brash future, proclaimed in Kuala Lumpur’s gleaming, futuristic buildings, such as the Petronas Towers, and the city’s premier attraction, the Menara KL.
Malaysia is truly a world-class country with an exciting, dynamic economy and a positive outlook for the future. Malaysia, Truly Asia. For once, the superlative rings true.