Fast-Track Malaysia – Aired July 2010
Malaysia. Asia’s premier investment destination. A nation well on its way to achieving First World status by the year 2020, Malaysia’s economic and social transformation is staggering. Leveraging its strategic location and abundant natural resources to become a model to the world, Malaysia is on the fast-track to success.
Malaysia is located at the heart of Southeast Asia, on the busy land, air, and see corridor between Europe and Australasia. Peninsular Malaysia borders Thailand and Singapore, while East Malaysia in the island of Borneo neighbors Indonesia and the Sultanate of Brunei. The capital city is Kuala Lumpur.
The Malaysian economy has gone through tremendous changes over the last few decades, evolving from an agriculture-based economy to a knowledge-based one. Malaysia has a strong trade policy that emphasizes better integration with the global economy and is now a key trading player in the region. There is no better time for foreign investors to tap into this boom.
Malaysia’s current government has launched an ambitious plan for the country’s future, the One Malaysia program. This embodies the nation’s drive to excel in social development and to foster unity among Malaysians of all races.
The discovery of oil has been integral to Malaysia’s transformation into an Asian superpower. The government-owned corporation Petronas is vested with the country’s entire oil and gas resources and is ranked by Fortune as the 8th most profitable company in the world.
One of the leading players in the Malaysian oil and gas industry is Bumi Armada. They are the country’s largest owner and operator of offshore support vessels and an established player in the FPSO segment with two of the floating production storage and offloading vessels in Nigeria and a third one under conversion.
Many global companies have already established themselves in Malaysia, helped in a big part by the country’s world-class infrastructure and open business environment.
To achieve first world status over the next decade is no longer a dream, but an imminent reality Malaysians are looking forward to witness.
RAIL AND AIR INFRASTRUCTURE
Significant government and private sector investment have brought into Malaysia one of the most advanced infrastructures of any Asian developing nation. Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport plays a key role in the country’s economic development and has put infrastructure development as one of the priorities of the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
Malaysia’s main airport is Kuala Lumpur International Airport, also known as KLIA. Opened in June 1998, KLIA has since matured into a model airport, and is fast emerging as the gateway of choice for the region.
Kuala Lumpur is well-connected to the rest of Asia and the world through its flagship carrier, Malaysia Airlines, as well as Air Asia, one of the continent’s fastest-growing airline companies.
Malaysia has an extensive rail network that dates back to the British colonial era, when it was first built to transport tin. Today, the government-led company KTM Berhad controls the entire railway network in Peninsular Malaysia, consisting of two main lines and several branch lines.It is crucial for the government to have a fully integrated transport network.
Commuter trains are a heavily utilized mode of transportation by commuters working in Kuala Lumpur as the service is an alternative for road travel.
Malaysian trains and railways are currently being upgraded to become safer and more efficient, and at the same time having a lesser impact on the environment. Truly a source of pride for the Malaysian people.
ROAD AND LOGISTICS INFRASTRUCTURE
In Malaysia, your journey matters. With an exceptional road network, driving around Malaysia is easier and faster thanks to some world-class concessions. The North-South Expressway, built, maintained and operated by PLUS Expressways Berhad, is the longest expressway in Malaysia. The expressway links many major cities and towns in western Peninsular Malaysia, acting as the ‘backbone’ of the west coast of the peninsula, and provides a faster alternative to the old federal route, thus reducing traveling time between various towns and cities.
PLUS now serves around 1.3 million vehicles on its expressways every day, and the implementation of the latest technologies and the strict emphasis on safety, comfort and efficiency earned nothing but praise from its users.
Malaysia has also positioned itself as a leading international logistics hub. It is not surprising that both the government and the private sector are pushing for a stronger integration of global logistics. Malaysia is home to some of the continent’s most reputable transport and logistics companies.
Logistics have evolved into a new era where it is not just about the transportation of goods from one place to another, but one where technology and solutions are implemented into the logistics chain to satisfy customer demands.
While global trade volumes continue to decline due to the current economic downturn, Malaysia remains optimistic about the future.
In the last decade, Malaysia launched its National IT Agenda as part of a major strategy aimed at national development and nation building in preparation for the challenges in the IT era. The Malaysian government has recognized that ICT would serve as a foundation condition that would transform Malaysia from a production-based economy to a knowledge-based economy.
The local ICT players have taken note of the position that the Malaysian government has taken, and it has been pushing in a very aggressive manner to not just provide, but also to generate demand for ICT solutions.
One of the areas where private companies in Malaysia really excel on the global stage is in the area of social services and e-government. Malaysia created history as the first country in Southeast Asia to win the highest ICT recognition in the world – the United Nations World Summit Award. Innovation and creativity are in Malaysians’ blood.
E-government in Malaysia is well advanced, and it should be an integral component of a much broader mission to deliver the government’s transformation agenda. Malaysia acknowledges that there significant challenges in improving the economy, but it is also seeing positive change as Malaysia continues to transform into a knowledge-based economy focusing on innovation, value and high skills.