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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        25  May 2011

$10 billion PPP investment in Malaysia

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A total of RM30 billion (US$ 10 billion) worth of projects under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) are expected to be implemented this year from RM18bil recorded last year, said Malaysian Prime Minister's Department public private partnership unit director-general Datuk Seri Dr Ali Hamsa.

“Among the projects to be implemented are the construction of new toll highways, hospitals and universities' campus branches,” he said at a press conference after the launch of PPP Workshop Series 2 yesterday.

To date, a total of 513 projects, including 165 new ones had been implemented where a total of 113,487 jobs had been transferred from the government's payroll to that of the private sector, generating savings of RM163.8bil in capital expenditure and RM8.9bil in operating expenditure. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop who had earlier opened the workshop said PPP had been increasingly recognised as an effective and appropriate mechanism to manage the complexity of today's development challenges.

“PPP is indeed an important option that can be utilised, particularly in today's challenging economic times, when we need to find increasingly innovative ways to improve the nation's infrastructure and services to meet the requirements of the people,” he said.

Asked on the issues of deficit and subsidies cut in the country, Nor Mohamed said a plan to slash subsidies despite rising prices was well timed in a growing economy.

“The Government does not hold to the ideology that a deficit means you go to hell and surplus means you go to heaven. The Government is being pragmatic by spending during a financial crisis to restore confidence while cutting back when the economy has recovered,” he said, adding that the Government projected the country's deficit to be reduced to 5.4 percent this year from 5.6 percent in 2010.

He added that the Government funds were not unlimited but unpopular subsidy cuts did not mean that the Government would stop spending.

“There are many demands on the Government's budget but it has been given the mandate to manage the public funds and we have to manage them the best way possible,” he said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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