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Visit by US Embassy Economic Officers

Wednesday, 27th June 2018

The above visit discussed current economic issues on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with reference to Malaysia. BRI has received much attention especially in relation to its impact on the financial, socio-economic, and political issues in the country. Ms Chin Yim Leng from the Centre for Maritime Economics and Industries believed that a comprehensive policy for the implementation of the initiative in Malaysia would be useful and that, where feasible, it would be in the country’s interests to coordinate economic development strategies for BRI projects. Extensive stakeholder consultations should be undertaken to minimise potential risks associated with loan payments for these large-scale infrastructure development.

Mr J. William Wade and Ms Duden Victoria Freeman from the US Embassy highlighted that priority should be given to local companies in obtaining sub-contracting job opportunities from BRI projects. Moreover, these projects should be transparent in presenting the true and actual benefits of the initiative that could contribute to the nation. A fair and regulated procedure for all of the tenders and reciprocal markets to access the spectrum of the initiative is important, as a measure to overcome allegations of corruption in any direct negotiation of BRI projects . Also of general importance is proactive communication between the projects initiators and the public on the contracts awarded over the implementation and operational phases.

As the BRI intended projects in Malaysia are generally still in its early stages of implementation, positive outcomes for Malaysia could be derived provided thorough benefit and risk assessments are conducted prior to a decision to proceed with a project.

Overall, the meeting provided a fruitful sharing of perspectives among participants.

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Group photograph after the meeting

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