I have borrowed the title caption from an article by a member of the US think tank, the Brookings Institution. It serves to underline the strategic vision of the federal government under Dr M which appears to be markedly absent in recent years. Here's an excerpt of Lael Brainard's article that urges the US to improve its transportation and logistics infrastructure:
When (U.S.) athletes land in Beijing, they’ll find that the new terminal at Beijing Airport is larger than all of Heathrow Airport, the world’s third busiest. China’s investment in rail infrastructure – almost $200 billion from 2006 to 2010 – is the beginning of the largest expansion of railway capacity undertaken anywhere since the 19th century. And in just the last 15 years, China has built a highway network that rivals what it took America 40 years to build.
These investments reflect an unprecedented shift in the balance of global economic power that is fundamentally altering the contours of how we compete in a global economy. For two generations, the world economy was defined by only seven countries -- Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States -- which produced two-thirds of world output.
But the last five years have seen the beginning of a dramatic change as major emerging economies, from China to Brazil and India, grow rapidly, aided by governments that make investments for the long-run, like in infrastructure. From 2002 to 2007, the G-7 share of world output fell from 65% to 57% and, according to Brookings scholar Homi Kharas, will likely decline to 37% of world output by 2030. Meanwhile, the major emerging economies’ share of global output jumped from 7% to 11% and is set to hit 32% by 2030, almost catching-up to the G-7.
To remain globally competitive, the U.S. needs to invest for the long-term in infrastructure, among other efforts, as we did under President Roosevelt with rural electrification and under President Eisenhower with the creation of the Interstate Highway System.
One of the focus of my blog is to try and contribute to strategic issues and goals that will make Malaysia more competitive. It's not easy to do so without any research grants. It's a labour of love, love for the country and fellow Malaysians. It's also an effort drawn from the indignance that I feel when political developments in Malaysia is seen in a bad light at the international level. It also stems from the fear that the future generations of Malaysians will be more lazy and stupid due to an education system that pulls good students down to a level and average that is below international standards (prompting almost all BN leaders to send their own children to private schools, including the children of the Minister of Education himself).
Forgive me the digression above. I sometimes suffer from what I call intellectual incontinence caused by indignance!!!
Back to the issue of infrastructure. Dr M wanted a double-rail tracking project. He wanted a crooked bridge. And, several more mega projects. Most, if not all, were shelved by the current Administration.
In the aftermath of GE2008, the Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) and Penang monorail project was shelved. The Penang 2nd Bridge was almost shelved.
These events tell me only one thing; the federal government is overly political in matters of economic development; the politicians in federal power today are short-term tacticians (rather inept ones, if I may say so). These characteristics are dogging the current Administration. But, worst of all, these characteristics come at a high price in the context of Malaysia's flip-flop approach to economic management and economic development.