Lighting the Torch

OBOR paves the way towards advancing ASEAN to the next level

By Tara Yean

After getting a beatdown from the depreciating Ringgit earlier this year, things are finally looking up for Malaysia as ASEAN countries take one step closer towards the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.

The initiative stems from plans to create a “New Silk Road” that would re-connect China, Europe and other regions in trade and cultural interactions. While OBOR is to be divided into six economic sub regions, it is the ASEAN component that has caused the most hype.

RHB Banking Group hosted the RHB Regional 2017 Conference entitled “One Belt, One Road, One Asia”, focusing on infrastructure development and investment opportunities within ASEAN.

The one-day conference received more than 200 participants that featured a line-up of high-level government representatives and experts on specific subject matters who shared insights and raised awareness on the benefits of OBOR.

Programmes under the OBOR initiative such as the “Silk Road” Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime “Silk Road” will witness land and sea trading interconnect between 68 nations, which encompasses 68% of the world’s population and 33.3% of global GDP as of 2016. The trade between China and ASEAN would be a major cornerstone for the success of OBOR while boosting Malaysia’s economic environment.

According to a report by RHB Research, the announced OBOR projects in the country have a cumulative investment size of close to US$50 billion (bn), or RM200bn, to be spread out over a period of 7 to 10 years.

Some of the projects in the pipeline includes the plans to establish the Kuantan Port and the East Coast Rail Link to enhance interconnectivity within Malaysia; the development and promotion of a Malaysia Innovation Cluster within the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park; and the joint venture to establish a low-cost carrier terminal in Zhengzhou.

“The OBOR initiative offers strong investment prospects to those along the land-based “Silk Road” Economic Belt and ocean-going 21st Century Maritime “Silk Road”. We also believe that the China-Malaysia model can be the template for future investments under this initiative,” states Dato’ Khairussaleh Ramli, Group Managing Director for RHB Banking Group.

 

This story first appeared in the Business Today magazine (August 2017 issue)

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