Malaysia’s obsession with big projects

THE recent discussions in parliament about the 12th Malaysia Plan caught my eye. 

Malaysia has been focusing on big infrastructure plans, following Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s ideas to boost our economy. 

Major projects like the North-South Expressway, Putrajaya, KLIA, the Petronas Twin Towers, and a few others stand out.  

Relying so much on construction, however, has its issues. 

Old-style thinking 

The megaprojects mentioned earlier mainly help big construction companies. 

The idea that these companies would support smaller businesses hasn’t really worked out. Big companies often take the largest share, leaving crumbs for the rest. 

Corruption often sneaks in, making things worse. 

This old-style thinking can discourage entrepreneurship, harm small businesses, and offer little to most people. 

I challenge the government to list all the local firms in major projects like ECRL, MRT, and HSR. 

Can we also know how many Malaysians are working on these projects and what their salaries are compared to the project’s total cost? 

I bet the numbers would show workers getting a tiny piece of a huge pie. 

Sticking to Dr Mahathir’s outdated strategy hurts our growth and increases the gap between big and small businesses. 

His ideas mostly benefitted the big players and didn’t address issues like local and regional development. 

Huge projects  

Our love for giant infrastructure projects isn’t a blessing. 

Projects like the MRT, LRT, HSR, and ECRL seem amazing but have drained a lot of resources. They often require costly foreign technology and expertise. 

Collaborating globally is good, but we need balance. 

Are we paying too much for these big projects? 

While some areas thrive, other parts of the country lack basic facilities and jobs. 

Simply copying old economic ideas won’t work. We need fresh thinking. – September 19, 2023. 

* Rosli Khan reads The Malaysian Insight. 

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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  • Mahathir's megaprojects enabled mega-kickbacks.

    Money from N-S Highway built UMNO'S HQ.

    Posted 10 months ago by Malaysian First · Reply

  • Any projects, if we'll managed from the beginning on all fronts, will work but in Bolehland..... everyone including the lowest worker expect kickbacks....these days kickbacks and free lunch and dinners ate part of the overcoat in Bolehland.....they say, only when a thief repents, only than a theft can be prevented.....but in Bolehland projects are an inpertus towards stealing.....or I can be wrong!!!

    Posted 10 months ago by Crishan Veera · Reply