DATUK Seri Najib Tun Razak has offered Malaysia’s approach in meeting the infrastructure demands of the future without sacrificing the quality of life by harnessing private-public collaboration and partnerships.
“Malaysia is pioneering the way in public-private partnerships and has established a unique fund to facilitate private sector investment in large-scale ventures that match the strategic priorities of the nation.
“More than US$6 billion (RM19.2 billion) has been set aside to bridge the viability gap for private investment in key areas, helping private sector developers turn ideas into a reality that benefits everyone,” the prime minister said in his keynote address, “21st century infrastructure: new global partnerships”, at the Commonwealth Business Forum 2011, at the Burswood Entertainment Complex here.
Najib said public-private partnerships allowed the government to address immediate infrastructure shortages while the costs were spread over a much longer period.
He also spoke of an infrastructure deficit where continued development of infrastructure was unable to ensure long-term economic growth that would sustain rising populations.
Public-private partnerships and private funding initiatives are keys to unlocking an infrastructure deficit, allowing the burden of costs on infrastructure development to be transferred to the private sector while the government focuses on other aspects of social needs, such as healthcare and education.
By harnessing private sector efficiency and expertise, “the vicious cycle of infrastructure deficit will be replaced by a virtuous cycle of infrastructure development”, he added.
Najib also spoke of the importance of managing development as the “only way to ensure sustainable long-term growth”.
Citing the development of Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Kuala Lumpur International Airport, upgrading of national highways, mass rapid transit and the creation of new economic centres, he said: “When we build, we build with the future in mind”.
“Malaysia has developed first-class hard and soft infrastructures which not only meet the current need but have also been future-proofed against the demands of the years to come.”
Najib said the world was not just dealing with infrastructure deficits as many economies, including Western powerhouses, were struggling with enormous fiscal deficits that needed to be tackled.
Najib said eradication of poverty and the growth of the economy had long been Malaysia’s twin priorities, but building the right infrastructure had always been a key factor in meeting the aim.
He said that infrastructure development was a huge need of Commonwealth countries and presented a huge opportunity for businesses.
Forums such as this, he added, could determine how the countries could meet each other’s needs, share technology, skills, talent and ideas to ensure that investment in infrastructure continues.
“Because no matter how harsh the financial climate may appear, an investment in infrastructure is an investment in people, and an investment in people is an investment in growth and the future.”
Source : New Straits Times