Infrastructure projects will drive growth, says expert

PETALING JAYA: Budget 2021 has set aside provisions for infrastructure projects that will trigger economic growth, said Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim.

The former Finance Ministry secretary-general said critics of the Budget overlooked the RM15bil allocated to kickstart big infrastructure projects for a swifter economic recovery and achieve the projected GDP growth of 6.5% to 7.5%.

“In times of weak demand conditions, construction gives the best hope for achieving the economic recovery target for 2021.

“Construction works create spin-off effects that boost economic activity. The best are infrastructure projects that add to future productive capacity – roads, bridges, rail, urban transport, regional highways, ports, airports, schools and hospitals.

“Not stadiums and palaces, these are more for vanity, ” he shared in a text message yesterday.

The respected economist warned of the consequences to Malaysia if the Budget was not approved.

He said it would send the wrong signal – that Malaysia was not politically stable, which would drive investors away, causing the ringgit to drop and raising the cost of doing business, among other things.

Although construction works are generally planned and funded by the government, he said the execution on the ground was carried out by contractors.

“Owners of the firms may get rich but if they create 100,000 jobs, both rich and poor will be better off.

“The important thing is how contracts are awarded. There must be accountability so that taxpayers will know the contractors are the right ones for the job, ” he added.

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