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Malaysia’s New Economic Model:
Risks and Rewards
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AseanAffairs Magazine May - June 2010
CONTENT • BEYOND ASEAN 
• ASEAN BAZAAR • FEATURED COMPANIES
ASEAN MANAGEMENT • INSIDE OUT
• ASEAN MONEY • OPINION
• ASEAN TRAVELLER • MALAYSIA IN FOCUS

Prime Minister Najib Razak vows to take Malaysia forward and transform it into a high income nation through economic and social reforms. Initial responses to this ambitious drive are mixed, details are scarce and investors play wait-and-see.Yet, Najib insists he’s got support to push ahead.

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ASEAN: THE WAY FORWARD

Asean and the Rise of Individual FTAs

All Asean countries have priorities when the national interest is at stake. This is not an issue for as long as such agreements at the regional or bilateral level are not in conflict with what Asean is striving to be in the future. We still have to provide Asean with a venue, on its own, to decide what is in the best interest of its people, whether through a bilateral agreement or regional partnership cooperation. But for the Asean countries to opt for a regional approach, more vigorous advocacy will be necessary and questions, doubts, skepticism must be addressed.

Rajiv Biswas

I do not think that Asean is particularly facing risks from this (individual members pursuing bilateral FTAs), since it has also negotiated Asean-wide FTAs with other important trade partners globally, which is also reducing trade and investment barriers for the whole of Asean with key partners such as China and India.

Jeffrey Cheah

Bilateral and regional FTA’s which are open and consistent with WTO rules would promote trade and investments and should be supported. This is because it may take too long to achieve a deal at the Doha Round WTO negotiations. The business community will also benefit from the bilateral FTA deals.

Ramon Navaratnam

I expect parallel socio economic development in Asean. Some countries move faster than others. Let the fastest win.

Michael Yeoh

Bilateral FTA’s are fine as long as they are WTO consistent.

Tunku Abidin

Asean countries have different identities, different histories, economies and political systems. They may have many very good reasons for seeking free trade deals individually.


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