Infrastructure Projects Driving Malaysia's Growth
May 07, 2018

Nations cannot develop and progress forward if the infrastructure of the country is poorly developed. This is something that the Malaysian government is acutely aware of. As a key enabler for sustainable economic growth, the government has driven high-value infrastructure projects that will benefit the people and the nation.

The implementation and development of key mega infrastructure projects, is seen as key to raising the economic status of the people, especially those in the rural areas.

Relooking projects that benefit the nation

Malaysia has always stressed on projects that would have a clear beneficial impact on the community such as housing, health and transport.

It has sought to unwind legacy policies which were not beneficial to the people, such as reducing billions of ringgit spent on fuel subsidies annually, and axing the cost-intensive Formula One races, replacing them with a more comprehensive public transport network that will bring greater connectivity for those in the interior with the urban centres.

These infrastructure projects will be catalysts for greater development for the people, as income of those in the interior would also rise in tandem with urban development, thereby further bridging the poverty gap between the interior and urban areas.

Transportation network crucial for economic growth

The 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020) has placed high priority on public transportation as a key enabler for growth as it increases connectivity.

For instance, the Pan Borneo Highway, which is being built at a cost of RM27 billion, will provide a more expansive connection for the states of Sarawak and Sabah with Brunei.
The Pan Borneo Highway project was announced in 2013 and followed by a commitment made in the national Budget 2015. Construction works on the highway has begun, and the 1,060km highway is expected to be completed in 2022. This will be key in accelerating the social and economic growth in Sabah and Sarawak, including boosting tourism and bringing much needed goods and services to hard-to-reach places.

To ensure that the community benefits economically from the construction of the highway, the contracts were given to local contractors, allowing local engineers and contractors the opportunity to up skill their knowledge and gain experience. The on-going construction of the project has already generating some 400,000 jobs in the two states.

The Mass Rapid Transit Line (MRT), a rail network that brings expanded connectivity within Greater Kuala Lumpur, will significantly elevate the country’s public transportation system. The MRT, which is supported by feeder bus services, will connect those traveling within the city to the fringes of the capital more efficiently.

The high-speed rail (HSR) project is another mega project that will link Malaysia and Singapore, cutting down travel time significantly from a drive of four-hours to just 90 minutes. The east coast will benefit from improved connectivity between the west and east coasts of Peninsular Malaysia through the construction of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) that will run from Port Klang to Pengkalan Kubor.

Driving greater quality of life

The strong push for greater efficiency through identified infrastructure projects under the 11th Malaysia Plan has seen the country poised to boost its competitiveness and elevate the quality of life for Malaysians.

The expansion of the transportation network in Malaysia will certainly trigger more economic multipliers alongside the project. In the short term, the construction works for the identified infrastructure projects would provide employment opportunities and in the long term, the development of new townships and commercial centres alongside the connected areas will spur economic activities. Consequently, there will be more demand for housing and amenities such as hospitals.

Malaysia has been far-sighted to recalibrate the strategy to ensure only infrastructure projects that can enable faster economic growth and development, and bring great benefit to the people are the projects that are pushed forward. This is important to the country’s national goals to becoming a developed nation with a high qualify of life for its people.


By Shahril Mokhtar

* Shahril Mokhtar is the CEO of MRT Corp and a Board Member of MyHSR Corp and Prasarana Malaysia