Dr Mahathir’s return a boost for IMT-GT

Dr Mahathir’s return a boost for IMT-GT

BANGKOK: The leadership of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed is being welcomed back at the regional level after an absence of 16 – years.

His pro – active outlook on the business prospects and visionary sense of things within the region is a plus point here, said Indonesia – Malaysia – Thailand (IMT -GT) joint business council (JBC) chairman Datuk Fauzi Naim Noh. 

The business community in the region can now tap into his wisdom and statesmanship to revitalise efforts to tap the economic opportunities in the various regional economic corridor initiatives.

Fauzi said that Mahathir was part of the founders of the IMT – GT sub regional grouping together wih the former Thai Prime Minister Chuan Lekpai and the Indonesian President, the late Suharto some 26 -years ago.

IMT – GT, the oldest economic grouping, was established formally in a meeting between the three leaders in Langkawi in 1993.

Mahathir can bring back the visionary leadership which the region needs because of his long standing statesmanship and his understanding of the potential that this region offers to the world, Fauzi said.

His remarks came at the sidelines of the one day IMT -GT ministerial summit in Bangkok yesterday – hosted this year by Thailand, who now chairs the Asean grouping.

According to Fauzi, there are 80 million inhabitants within the IMT – GT region which covers 32 states and provinces in northern Malaysia, southernmost Thailand and Sumatera in Indonesia.

“It is a vast region to tap and there are more opportunities available than ever in a globalised world.”

His counterpart JBC council member Yasir Hafiz Munawar Ali said that Mahathir can shed light on how the region should cope from the fresh challenges of globalisatin; such as the US – China trade war and climate change as well as a general global economic slowdown. 

Yasir said that the the grouping should formulate a permanent JBC investment promotion office while also merging various working communities into one permanent secretariat to better coordinate the flow of capital and business linkages in the region.

He also proposed for a regional media network to be established to report progress done in wooing linkages among the small medium enterprises in the region.

This year, Fauzi sees the establishment of the Rubber City in Padang Terap, Kedah as one of the exciting investments to drive private sector interest and participation.

Currently, there is a Coordination Centre for IMT – GT which operates out of Putrajaya in Malaysia.

Fauzi also spoke about the IMT – GT air connectivity to the East India corridor areas of the Nicobar, Sri Lanka and Maldives as another area worth exploring.

The importance of the land, sea and air logistics connectivity including the rail links are also interesting as IMT – GT tries to leverage off the China mooted Belt Road Initiative (BRI).

By: John Chin

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