Around 17 years ago, after my final exam for my degree in Bristol, I decided to travel around Europe. As a student, I was able to buy some sort of Rail Pass which enabled me to travel around Europe via railways of all the different European countries. This is an awesome way to travel because it was even possible to board the last train at night and arrive in the next country the next morning. It was not just hassle free but was very convenient as well. Of course, I was much younger then and could easily rough it out then. This is why I always feel fascinated with the Pan-Asian railway which is being encouraged by China which I think by the time of its completion would mark the beginning of China as the largest economy in the world. (nominal GDP)
I am a firm believer of ASIA as the next growth centre. Thus, the more integrated we become without the need for single currency the better. It would make even more sense to have more trades with our very own currneicesor even trading using just one world currency, the better. Reported in The Star recently, The Pan-Asian Railway linking Kunming to Singapore has received a much-needed boost with the introduction of the Belt and Road initiative. This initiative, a land-based Silk Road Economic Belt and ocean-going 21st century Maritime Silk Road is a framework put forth by Chinese President Xi Jinping to foster connectivity and cooperation among countries along the route. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and a separate Silk Road Fund will be supporting this development. Read about AIIB here: AIIB: Great initiative and posed to grow infrastructure ASIA
As a small nation compared to many, it is important for Malaysia to continue to integrate itself into these infrastructure plans which enables it to increase the potential of trades with all other nations within the Pan-Asian railway. Of course, in the near future, students on a budget and yet wanted to see the whole of Asia can also do as what I did; via the railway. I think this fits into the currently proposed High Speed Rail between KL – Singapore which unfortunately has been slightly delayed instead of the proposed 2020 timeline during its inception.
All these logistics and infrastructure developments will bring a lot of spillover effects besides opening up many new industries and many other sectors including tourism, trade and investment and even the SME industry which is definitely the greatest defence for any country. I dare not think what will happen to those economies where 70% or more of its economy is dependent on only the foreign direct investments or MNCs. These MNCs would normally be the first and fastest to pull out during any crisis. SMEs meanwhile will just have to survive in their own country, somehow. Happy anticipating and one day riding all the way from KL to Kunming, China.
written on 17 Oct 2015
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