As soon as I completed my final year papers way back in 1998, I went for a short tour of Europe. Actually, I went to just 6 countries. The awesome thing was I needed to buy just the Euro Rail Pass in the UK and I could use it to travel across all the 6 countries I was visiting. (No idea if Brexit would change this but hopefully not) The not so awesome thing? Well, Malaysian passport holders travelling from the UK will NOT get additional immigration stamps. Haha. Anyway, the rail pass was usable because the whole Europe was connected via rail lines. Okay, it does not cover the privately operated lines but I did not spend a single extra cent after I had that Rail Pass. This is something we lack here in Asia. Without ONE link between all countries, any integration will be slow because NOT everyone can afford to fly. Besides, it is only by rail that all the towns and cities along the whole route will benefit. Flights would only benefit two points every time.
So, I am very supportive of One Belt One Road (new Silk Road) by the “near future largest economy” in the world, China. Yes, I know they are still number 2 currently. Hopefully within the next 10 years, China will be number one. By the way, if India has a stable and progressive government, it would be the second largest and the U.S will only be 3rd… There’s one article in TheStar here about the new Silk Road. Chinese President Xi Jinping says that for the new Silk Road plan, China is pledging a total of US$124 billion fund by China and open for all. He says that this will be a way to boost global development. He shared, “We should build an open platform of cooperation and uphold and grow an open world economy.” (I think he should re-emphasize this to President Trump) He added, “Trade is the important engine of economic development.” (I think this is the only part where Asia is considered weak when compared to the more advanced groupings in the world today. This is especially true when compared to those formal economic groupings from the world.). Do read the full article in TheStar here.
Malaysia remains a small nation when compared to many bigger Asian countries. However, trade numbers wise, we are projected to continue to remain within the top 25 largest in the world by PWC, even until 2050. It is thus seriously important that we do not fall behind any Asian nation in attracting new trade deals. Embrace this new Silk Road yeah. I can safely conclude that this new Silk Road will benefit China tremendously but no one can tell me how economic integration can be made faster without one single link between most if not all Asian nations. Oh yeah, infrastructure wise, China is also leading with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) which Malaysia is already a member and its members include even Britain and Australia. (Yes, both are known as strong supporters of the U.S who is not a member of AIIB) Happy following and all the best to ASIA.
written on 14 May 2017
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