Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wool over your eyes

Datuk Rafidah Aziz, Malaysia's International Trade and Industry Minister, went down to Singapore the other day preaching the IDR to potential investors. Those gathered expressed a lot of concern about the crime situation in Johore, which had gone from bad to worse in the last few years. While acknowledging that it was a problem, she put the blame squarely on foreign workers. Now I am not sure if she has correctly diagnosed the problem, but it is certain that the Johore police are not doing enough. She promised to bring this up with the Johore police and state government.

This is a step in the right direction, but it would seem that more needs to be done. So far, the Malaysian government has touted the IDR as a sure thing. Even some of its official use this IDR plan to threaten and cajole the Singapore government. In the wake of the Port Klang Free Zone fiasco, which itself was launched with much fanfare, it is no longer certain that the IDR would amount to a roaring success. Probably the best thing about the IDR now is the concept scale model of the plan. Getting from concept and plan to reality and, hopefully, success, is a long long way.

Singapore may be seen as small fry when compared to the financial might of some middle-eastern countries that Malaysia is also wooing, but the lesson of Port Klang should not be forgotten.


Govt bailout looms for Port Klang project
Malaysian government may help Port Klang with its debt problems
Port Klang Free Zone, a MYR4 billion white elephant ?
Lim Kit Siang on PKFZ

To get a more sympathetic slant on the saga, see

Govt throws lifeline to Port Klang Free Zone
Jafza pullout amicable