The question is how well will his tenure be remembered?
Or has he left any good legacy for the country and people, at least so far? I wouldn’t want to mention deeply about this issue but all I can remember from his few years of popular-then-very-unpopular premiership was nothing more than his so-called “Economic Corridors”.
This week at a global real estate event in Dubai, Iskandar Malaysia – one of Mr Badawi’s brainchild corridor project has revealed an ambitious multi-billion dollar development in the Iskandar region of Johor, the southern state neighbouring Singapore.
It is called Medini Iskandar (City) or simply known as Iskandar Financial District, which is to be developed by a consortium of investors mainly from the Middle East. (It was also announced that the Iskandar region would have at least three world-class theme parks.)
The unveiling of this urban-centric project came after the privately-funded Penang Global City Centre project in the northern economic region of Penang, another brainchild of the Prime Minister, was scrapped by the recently-elected Opposition government of Penang.
I’m here trying to be a little pessismistic on the prospect of Iskandar Malaysia, not really because it was a brainchild of an unpopular Prime Minister but more of the fact that our political uncertainty since March 2008 is taking its toll (or has had) by driving out the “forces” to other emerging economies, perhaps China and India.
The fact is Malaysia last year already had an “investment deficit” or negative flow of investments due to fund outflows exceeding the inflow of funds (such as FDI and tourism receipts?) into our country, according to the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2008. What more can you say for this year.
And then we have a record-breaking inflation rate then doesn’t seem to drop at all when crude oil prices already trade well below the $100 per barrel mark (consumer prices at pump have dropped a little). So I ponder why is our government putting enormous importance to mega-projects that no one cares at all than the welfare of the people who are suffering from a 27-year high inflation?
It is even harder to believe the viability of this dream corridor amidst a very nasty financial crisis evolving in the developed world. The ongoing crisis in the US and Europe will certainly hit Malaysia’s export-oriented economy very very hard. And we all know this for sure.
In the end, many corridor projects will just be Dreams, not until everything in the world including Malaysia gets better. Mr Badawi would certainly want his Iskandar Malaysia legacy to live on under the hands of his successor, that most of us already know.