ASEAN Continues Push for Significant Infrastructure Development During 50th Anniversary
Amidst its jubilee celebrations, ASEAN’s largest economies have pledged to double their collective infrastructure investment to over US$700 billion over a period of five years, as transport initiatives remain a key focus for the ten member-countries until 2020. According to World Bank estimates, ASEAN trade volumes are forecast to roughly double to US$2.8 trillion by 2025. With numbers rising at this exponential rate, the emphasis on improving transport links for the facilitation of trade and investment and the flow of goods and the mobility of people in and around ASEAN is vastly significant.
The subsequent increased investment is expected to contribute to the growth of other sectors, such as trade, tourism, and development, and act as a driving force for sustainable regional economic growth. Improved transport links in the supply chain will reduce import costs and help companies maximize opportunities within ASEAN. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is among the key players in the push toward infrastructure upgrades; the significant potential consumer spending power of the Southeast Asia region’s increasingly urban population provides a strong motivation to continue to drive bilateral trade toward a shared China-ASEAN goal of US$1 trillion by 2020. ASEAN investors have also taken up the role as primary investors in their own region, pouring three times more into Southeast Asia than Chinese investors, according to Tony Cripps, chief executive officer of HSBC Singapore. In addition, ASEAN has remained a major destination for global foreign direct investment (FDI); the 2016 ASEAN Investment Report places total inflows in 2015 to around US$120 billion, or about 16 percent of global FDI among developing economies.
Additionally, with Singapore as the next ASEAN chair in 2018, discussions on how to improve infrastructure is already in the pipelines. The Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs have issued an official statement expressing their commitment to ''an open and inclusive regional architecture''.
At the 13th JCBC (Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation) meeting between Singapore and China, both sides agreed that China’s Belt and Road initiative presents new areas for fruitful cooperation such as in infrastructure development and third-country capacity-building. Singapore currently is China’s largest foreign investor, and China has been Singapore’s largest trading partner, as well, since 2013.
Singapore’s transport infrastructure is already some of the best in the world, ranked number two by the World Economic Forum – and the government plans to double the size of the city state’s metro system by 2030. Along with the massive spending plans for railway investment in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, it is clear that ASEAN economies are making a concerted effort towards the growth and development of the region.
Indonesia and Philippines Infrastructure Plans Running into Hurdles
Indonesian President Joko Widodo recently urged his cabinet ministers to accelerate the implementation of all infrastructure cooperation projects, ranging from the development of ports, refineries to all other routes that would facilitate trade. Infrastructure development has been one of President Jokowi's key focus areas, as he beckons a rise in investments within Indonesia. The Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Mr Darmin Nasution, has also highlighted plans to increase the role of the private sector in infrastructure development, which is set to remain the government’s priority program in 2018, with the implementation of the Enterprises and Government Cooperation (KPBU) scheme.
Despite government efforts, Indonesia continues to face substantial delays in a major rail project being conducted in conjunction with Beijing. The rail link, planned to run between Jakarta and Bandung, is a key component of President Widodo’s infrastructure push, and is expected to cost US$5 billion. Kereta Cepat Indonesia-China (KCIC), a consortium of state-run enterprises from both Indonesia and China, has been tasked with the link’s construction and operation. But KCIC failed to secure the land for the project, which was one of the conditions to be fulfilled in the loan agreement that was arranged.
The consortium had claimed in January to have obtained 85% of the land it needed, but figures provided to President Widodo reflected that only 55% had been secured, leading to suspicions that KCIC had been submitting false reports overstating its progress. The loan being contingent on KCIC having 100% of the land has forced the Indonesian government to consider additional concessions that might diminish its role in the project, such as stepping down as lead and raising China’s stake in the project from 40% to 90%. Such major obstructions, along with disagreements between the consortium and the government, place significant doubt on the possibility of the rail link being completed by the target launch date of June 2019.
The Philippines is also in the midst of a major infrastructure push, with President Rodrigo Duterte planning to bolster the economy with a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure program. The public spending program, launched in April, is projected to cost US$167 billion and focuses on big infrastructure projects in an effort to boost employment and increase the country’s attractiveness to investors.
However, similar to the situation in Indonesia, there is a growing concern about the financing and implementation of the proposed projects. In particular, the loans the Philippine government is seeking from China could leave the country in heavy debt and susceptible to Chinese pressure over the territorial dispute in the South China Sea. This development is especially crucial following a recent arbitration tribunal to the Philippines for negating Beijing’s claim to a majority of the international waterway.
Yangon’s Transit Development Suffers from Political Friction and a Lack of Transparency
The recent pursuits of the chief minister of Yangon, Phyo Min Thein, in transforming the Myanmar bus rapid system, has been met with suspicion rather than applause. The city’s first major infrastructure project under Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership is facing pushback, stemming from friction among members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and regional lawmakers, who are raising questions regarding the project’s cost, and accusing Yangon’s Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein of cronyism and a lack of accountability.
There is additional concern that the project, which involved a whopping US$100 million purchase of two thousand buses from Chinese companies, might have affected Myanmar’s ties with Europe and the United States. In a private letter to Commerce Minister Than Myint, Roland Kobia, the EU Ambassador to Myanmar, expressed disapproval with the lack of transparency in public procurements, although he refrained from mentioning the bus deal. He later made a statement that, “many European actors stand ready to work in Myanmar, but more needs to be done to give them a fair chance to compete for contracts".
Phyo Min Thein’s bid to overhaul Yangon’s transit system was among the first opportunities for Suu Kyi’s NLD to tangibly demonstrate its ability to improve the standard of living for more than two million commuters. In reality, the project was hindered by a slew of hurdles, including a rejected proposal from the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, and unsuccessful talks with potential French and Dutch suppliers.
Due to these circumstances, the Yangon Bus Public Company (YBPC), a public-private joint venture majority-owned by the city government, decided to purchase half of the required vehicles from two Chinese suppliers selected by Hong Liang, Beijing’s ambassador to Myanmar. The other half was procured from a third Chinese company in a private deal by Kyaw Ne Win, a grandson of former junta leader Ne Win. Neither procurement was made public via a tender or debate in the regional legislature prior to the agreements being made.
APEC Members Call for Infrastructure Investment Financial Tribune 21st Aug 2017
Experts from APEC member economies spoke about the need to invest in quality infrastructure at a workshop hosted by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City. The workshop was the second activity of APEC’s Committee of Trade and Investment held during the senior officials meeting and related meetings in the city, VNS reported. Speaking at the workshop, Kazuko Ishigaki, director of MLITT’s international planning for the construction industry, said: “As the APEC multi-year plan on infrastructure development and investment endorsed in 2013, well-designed, sustainable and resilient infrastructure enhances economic growth, boosts productivity and provides significant positive flow-on effects.” “That is why APEC promotes a connectivity blueprint and other related initiatives to promote infrastructure development. This is being orchestrated with global trends,” she added.
Asean’s golden anniversary heralds a golden age for infrastructure The Nation 21st Aug 2017
Transport initiatives are a key focus for the 10-member economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) until 2020. Such investments are vital given infrastructure’s crucial role in creating long-term economic strength, according to the annual World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report. The emphasis on building better connections to facilitate trade and investment and the flow of goods and people in and around Asean cannot be underestimated. It will help domestic and international companies maximise the opportunities inside one of the world’s most populous, fastest-growing and vibrant regions. It is one that, with a combined GDP of about US$2.8 trillion, already ranks as the world’s seventh largest and is on track to be in the top three by 2030. Improving transport links in the Asean supply chain will reduce import costs, no small thing considering that 70 per cent of global trade is now in intermediate goods and services and capital goods, according to World Bank estimates.
China Is Increasing Its Share of Southeast Asia's Infrastructure Pie Bloomberg.com 17th Aug 2017
China has Southeast Asia in its sights. Companies from the world’s second-biggest economy are increasingly targeting the region for investment, especially into infrastructure. That’s a potential boon for developing economies, which need a massive upgrade of roads, rail, and ports if they are to meet their economic potential. It also comes amid a wider crackdown by regulators in Beijing on outbound investment. The Asian Development Bank estimates that emerging economies across Asia will need to invest as much as $26 trillion on building everything from transport networks to clean water through 2030 to maintain growth, eradicate poverty, and offset climate change. That’s where China comes in. Although the share of Chinese foreign direct investment into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations remains relatively small at 6.8 percent of total net inflows in 2015, Chinese corporations are taking up larger stakes in major infrastructure projects across the region, according to Weiwen Ng, economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group in Singapore.
Asean to give infrastructure a big push The Nation 6th Aug 2017
Asean investors have become the largest investors in their own region, three times more than from Chinese investors, said Tony Cripps, chief executive officer of HSBC Singapore. According to Asean Investment Report 2016, Asean remained a major destination for global foreign direct investment (FDI), receiving around 16 per cent of the world FDI among developing economies with total inflows of US$120 billion in 2015. Intra-Asean investment remained the largest source of FDI flows, rising to $22.1 billion. The share of intra-Asean investment in total FDI flows to the region increased from 17 per cent in 2014 to 18.5 per cent in 2015. Japan ranked second with $17.4 billion, followed by US $12.2 billion and China $ 8.2 billion.
DHL invests B2.7bn in supply chain Bangkok Post 23rd Aug 2017
DHL Supply Chain, the world's leading logistics service provider, will invest 2.7 billion baht over the next three years to grow its footprint in this region. The outlay is specifically earmarked for Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar where the firm, part of Deutsche Post DHL Group, wants to tap growing logistics demand. The investment will go towards building new warehouse facilities, expanding its fleet of trucks, and introduction of new technology. That is expected to boost the company's combined warehouse space in those countries to 1.44 million square metres by 2020, creating 7,000 more jobs for a total of 17,000, said Kevin Burrell, chief executive of DHL Supply Chain for the Thailand cluster, which includes neighbouring states.
Hun Sen seeks hydropower deal with Thailand Bangkok Post 7th Aug 2017
The Cambodian government is to ask Thailand for help to build a hydropower plant in the border province of Koh Kong. Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Friday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said a possible agreement on the construction will be discussed by ministers from the two countries in Siem Reap from Sept 7-8. “We will use the third joint Cambodia-Thailand cabinet meeting to discuss an agreement to cooperate on building Stung Metek hydropower plant in Koh Kong province, on the border with Thailand’s Trat province,” the Khmer Times on Monday quoted Hun Sen as saying said. If the deal is successful, Hun Sen said it could be a good model for the country to develop its border areas with Laos and Vietnam in the future. “The more we can develop the borders the better it is for our whole country’s development. Countries develop based on two main factors -- domestic stability and development at the borders,” he said.
Room for growth in Cambodia’s aviation market Khmer Times 28th Aug 2017
Bassaka Air began operations in 2014 with the launch of its first flight from Phnom Penh to Macau. Three years later, it now flies to six destinations with plans for further expansion. Bassaka Air’s CEO Mark E Thibault recently spoke to Khmer Times’ Sok Chan and stressed that strategic partnerships were crucial for the small airline to survive in a competitive aviation market. KT: What are the efforts of Bassaka Air to assist the government to encourage two million Chinese tourists to visit Cambodia by 2020? Mr Thibault: I met with Tourism Minister Thong Khon and he told me about the China Ready campaign. I told him we were all set to assist. We have to go to the next level now by buying more aircraft, expanding office space and also bringing in Chinese speaking representatives into our commercial group. We also have to refurbish our old aircraft to make them more efficient. We realise that China is a very large market and also we want the Chinese travellers to experience Cambodian hospitality all the way from getting on a Bassaka Air plane and arriving in either Phnom Penh, Siem Reap or Sihanoukville and then returning back to China.
Smart Axiata launches 4.5G services in Cambodia The Nation 22nd Aug 2017
Mobile operator Smart Axiata became the first company to launch 4.5G services in the Cambodia yesterday, a move that will position the firm to supply faster download and upload speeds when more devices carry the latest technology. The company’s CEO, Thomas Hundt, said 1,500 base stations have already been outfitted with 4.5G technology with the support of Chinese tech giant Huawei. He said while currently only three mobile handset models support the new technology, the infrastructure was being laid in preparation for the widespread adoption of 4.5G-capable devices.
The Southern Economic Corridor: Boosting Trade and Investment in Cambodia ASEAN Business News 11th Aug 2017
Stretching eastwards from Myanmar through Thailand and Cambodia to Vietnam, the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) aims to further integrate the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by improving connectivity and trade. In Cambodia, new clusters are growing around border towns and in existing industrial hubs along the route of the SEC. Foreign businesses are investing in Cambodia, benefiting from both the country’s cheap labor pool as well as the improved connectivity brought on by the SEC. The SEC is one of the many development projects initiated in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). The GMS is a natural economic area loosely connected by the Mekong River – the 12th longest river in the world. The GMS spans an area of 2.6 million square kilometers and a total population of 339 million people, as of 2015. In 2015, trade within the GMS amounted to US$444 billion.
Cambodia port investment to boost trade volumes Just-Style 9th Aug 2017
Trade volumes at Cambodia's Sihanoukville port are expected to grow thanks to Japanese investment that will see the construction of a new container terminal and improved cargo handling capacity. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) aid organisation on Monday (7 August) signed a loan agreement with the Government of Cambodia in Tokyo to provide up to JPY23.5bn (US$214.2m) for the Sihanoukville Port New Container Terminal Development Project. JICA took a 13.5% stake in Cambodia's Port Authority of Sihanoukville (PAS) in June, via the authority's listing on the Cambodia Securities Exchange, deepening its involvement in a port it has helped to develop since 1999.
Cambodia to ask Japan to invest $800 million in skytrain Reuters 7th Aug 2017
Cambodia will ask Japan to invest $800 million in a skytrain system for the capital Phnom Penh, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Monday during a visit to Tokyo. Inadequate infrastructure, particularly in rural areas, has partly deterred investors in Cambodia, one of the world's poorest countries. Hun Sen said on Facebook the skytrain would link the capital to its international airport. "Currently, many Japanese investors are interested in investing in Cambodia," Hun Sen said. Hun Sen, who is on a three-day visit to Japan, said Cambodia and Japan would also sign two other agreements following talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expected later on Monday.
Securing land still a problem for Indonesia rail project Nikkei Asian Review 24th Aug 2017
Indonesia is facing major delays in securing the necessary land for a planned high-speed railway, raising questions over whether Beijing should take the lead instead or if the railway will be finished at all. The rail link, which would run for about 140km between Jakarta and the city of Bandung, is expected to cost over $5 billion and is a key component of President Joko Widodo's push to develop Indonesia's infrastructure. Kereta Cepat Indonesia-China, a consortium of state-run companies from both countries, has been tasked with its construction and operation. At a meeting in late July, Widodo strongly demanded that his transportation minister and other related officials explain the lack of progress -- a rare show of frustration for the usually calm president. He attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the railway back in January 2016, but little actual construction has happened since. KCIC also has yet to receive a loan it agreed to with a Chinese bank in May, because it has failed to fulfill conditions like obtaining the necessary land for the project.
Greater Role for Private Sector in Infrastructure Development Tempo 20th Aug 2017
Coordinating Minister for the Economy Darmin Nasution said that infrastructure development remains the government’s priority program in 2018 although spending for infrastructure in the 2018 state budget draft will only slightly increase by 5.6 percent compared to that this year into Rp409 trillion. Darmin also said the government next year would increase greater roles of the private role in infrastructure development. "The government will formulate more policies so that the private sector plays a bigger role in infrastructure development in Indonesia,” Darmin said in Jakarta on Sunday.
Indonesia's unorthodox toll road debt The Interpreter 18th Aug 2017
In 2016 Indonesia’s Ministry of Public Works dramatically underestimated the funds it needed to acquire land for toll road development. To try to keep development on schedule, the government leaned on toll road developers to lend them the difference at well-below-commercial rates. Over a year later, most of this money still has not been repaid, and government is now seeking to borrow more. President Joko Widodo has made infrastructure development a large part of his platform. Among other ambitious targets, his government aims to deliver 1000 kilometres of toll roads over the 2015-2019 term. More so than any other infrastructure sector, toll road development is highly dependent on the timely availability of land.
Independence Day: Government demonstrates infrastructure progress amid challenge... The Jakarta Post 16th Aug 2017
Having pledged to ramp up the development of infrastructure since the start of his tenure, President Joko Widodo and his government have made noteworthy progress with regard to infrastructure, despite having to grapple with various challenges that continue to persist. The challenges the government is working to tackle are no minor roadblocks. They are years old problems and are believed to be the reasons for the failure of Jokowi’s predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudoyono, to make significant strides in improving the country’s infrastructure. The new president, however, has seemed to have a higher level of commitment toward his infrastructure program. He has promised to build ports, roads and railways to attract investment into the country and to spur economic growth to 7 percent a year before the end of his tenure in 2019.
Finance Minister: Indonesia is Pushing Forward Infrastructure Development netralnews.com 9th Aug 2017
Indonesia Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati says the government is focusing on equitable development in Indonesia. Moreover, she says development will be encouraged in all sectors. This was revealed by Sri Mulyani during the one-year anniversary of the operation of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Jakarta. "Infrastructure is not only in Jakarta, but we also built a lot of infrastructure at the rural level, such as irrigation, sanitation, and clean water. It is important that these areas really focus on spending big budget," she told reporters on Wednesday.
Driving Forces Accelerating Infrastructure Projects in Indonesia netralnews.com 9th Aug 2017
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has urged his cabinet ministers to accelerate cooperation projects with other parties in the field of infrastructure, which have yet to start. "There are projects related to the development of ports, refineries, and others, and the president has questioned why they have not yet started," Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Darmin Nasution remarked after a meeting of the president with ministers working in economic fields at the Presidential Palace here on Tuesday.
Hajj fund sufficient for infrastructure: Minister Brodjonegoro Antara News 6th Aug 2017
Hajj fund, which currently reaches almost Rp100 trillion, is sufficient to finance infrastructure development, National Development Planning Minister/Chief of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) Bambang Brodjonegoro said. "Hajj fund is a long-term fund, while infrastructure development is also a long-term project. Hence, it is suitable to use long-term fund for a long-term project," he stated in a discussion here on Saturday (August 5). To date, much of the hajj fund is invested in sharia state securities (SBSN), sukuk (sharia bond), and other securities. As a result, its benefit cannot be felt clearly, he noted.
Russia supports Indonesia`s ambitious infrastructure development project Antara News 4th Aug 2017
Russia supports Indonesias ambitious program for infrastructure development as it would help facilitate flows of goods and investment from abroad including from Russia, a Russian official said. Adequate availability of infrastructure would help facilitate flows of goods from Russia needed in the implementation of economic cooperation between the two countries, Russian Deputy Trade Minister Oleg Ruanzantsev said in a Russian-Indonesian Business forum here on Friday. Oleg Ruanzantsev said he was confident that Indonesia would rank among leading countries in infrastructure development. He said Russia has economic interest in investment development in Indonesia in various sectors such as infrastructure, energy , trade and industry.
Minister appoints new director general for sea transportation The Jakarta Post 25th Aug 2017
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi on Thursday appointed Bay Mokhamad Hasani as the ministry’s acting director general for sea transportation to replace Antonius Tonny Budiono, who was arrested by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Wednesday. “I have issued an instruction to Bay Mokhamad Hasani to fill the position of acting sea transportation director general,” said Budi in Surakarta, Central Java, on Friday, as reported by news agency Antara.
Indonesia to introduce tax breaks for low-carbon cars Nikkei Asian Review 23rd Aug 2017
The Indonesian government has drawn up a policy framework to fully promote environment-friendly cars, such as electric and hybrid vehicles. The key pillar of the new policy is to introduce tax breaks for low-carbon emission cars, with the goal of reducing emissions by 29% by 2030. According to the Ministry of Industry, the government plans to make the tax exemption and other plans public by the end of the year, under a plan that will probably be called the "Low Carbon Emission Vehicle" program. The government will soon start preparing new rules that will comprehensively cover such eco-friendly vehicles, which will also include fuel-cell vehicles and next-generation "clean diesel" cars. A tax exemption program has been in place for production of so-called low-cost green cars, that is, gasoline-powered vehicles with low emissions and low fuel consumption. With government support, affordable cars with price tags around 100 million rupiah ($7,497) have become available, helping boost car ownership. The new program will replace the LCGC efforts currently in place, the government said.
Govt to Consult with Experts over Online Transportation Bill Tempo 23rd Aug 2017
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said that he would consult with experts to address the issue with a bill on online-based transportation services. Earlier, the Supreme Court (MA) accepted a petition demanding the court to conduct a judicial review on the Transportation Minister’s Regulation No. 26/2017.
Jack Ma says infrastructure is a ‘key challenge’ to Indonesia’s ecommerce growth Tech in Asia 23rd Aug 2017
Jack Ma, China’s richest man on the back of his Alibaba online shopping empire, said yesterday that infrastructure and logistics are key challenges to Indonesia’s burgeoning ecommerce industry. The comments came amidst a meeting in Beijing between Jack Ma and Indonesian ministers, for whom Ma is an official advisor on its digital economy. It’s a role he accepted last year. “Mr. Ma said as Indonesians live across more than 17,000 islands, putting in place a comprehensive logistics network is a key challenge faced by the country’s ecommerce industry,” according to an Alibaba statement. Ma’s own words were not disclosed. “To overcome this, two basic infrastructure issues need to be resolved with regards to the information network and logistics network. To that end, Alibaba has cordially invited Indonesian government officials to visit the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou to gain first-hand knowledge and experience on China’s ecommerce development through knowledge sharing sessions and courses,” continued the statement.
Ministry to prioritize infrastructure in four sectors in 2018 The Jakarta Post 20th Aug 2017
The Public Works and Public Housing Ministry will focus on building infrastructure in four sectors next year, namely transportation, food supply, waste management and housing. The ministry is set to obtain Rp 106.9 trillion from the proposed 2018 budget once it is approved, the highest amount of all ministries and government institutions, an official has said.
Government to spend Rp 404t on infrastructure projects in 2018 The Jakarta Post 18th Aug 2017
Next year, the government plans to allocate Rp 404 trillion (US$30.23 billion) for infrastructure development, according to the draft state budget announced by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Thursday. This year, the government projects to spend Rp 387.70 trillion.
Jokowi Reveals Infrastructure Projects to Start Next Year Tempo 17th Aug 2017
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) revealed infrastructure projects that will start next year. He conveyed the message yesterday, August 16, in his introductory speech on the budget statement and 2018 draft state budget.
Jasa Marga to Apply Electronic Toll Collection in October Tempo 10th Aug 2017
State-owned toll operator Jasa Marga will implement electronic toll collection across Indonesia in October. Jasa Marga spokesman Dwimawan Heru said that the company currently operates 950 toll gates. As many as of 47 percent of which are automatic ones. He confirmed that Jasa Marga toll gates serve electronic collection. Many still believe that electronic collection my only be done in automatic toll gates. "The fact is that manual toll gates can also collect electronic money," he said Tuesday in Jakarta. Therefore, he said that the company must continue to educate road users on the system.
Infrastructure Development to Alleviate Poverty, Minister Says Tempo 9th Aug 2017
The National Development Planning Minister and Bappenas chief Bambang Brodjonegoro said infrastructure development is very important to overcome poverty. "Many are asking why the government is aggressively building infrastructure. It is because Indonesia's infrastructure is far behind [others], and we are lacking in basic infrastructures such as roads and bridges," Bambang said during the opening of the Indonesia Development Forum in Jakarta, Wednesday, August 9.
Infrastructure projects should be accelerated: Jokowi Antara News 8th Aug 2017
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has urged his cabinet ministers to accelerate cooperation projects with other parties in the field of infrastructure, which have yet to start. "There are projects related to the development of ports, refineries, and others, and the president has questioned why they have not yet started," Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Darmin Nasution remarked after a meeting of the president with ministers working in economic fields at the Presidential Palace here on Tuesday.
M’sia to benefit greatly from Asean’s infrastructure-backed growth - HSBC The Star Online 10th Aug 2017
Malaysia is expected to reap immense benefits from ASEAN’s infrastructure -backed growth, says HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd. In a statement today, chief executive officer Mukhtar Hussain said Malaysia’s big transport opportunity is to boost regional and local connectivity, while improving efficiency in the economy, creating an integrated transport system, as well as, upgrading logistics capacity to enhance the country’s status as a regional hub for international trade. “This is a key focus area for the country under the government’s 11th Malaysia Plan,” he added.
Hard-pedaling soft power, China helps launch $13 billion Belt and Road rail project in Malaysia Reuters 9th Aug 2017
China and Malaysia broke ground on Wednesday on a $13 billion rail project linking peninsular Malaysia's east and west, the largest such project in the country and a major part of Beijing's Belt and Road infrastructure push. The planned 688-km (430-mile) East Coast Rail Link will connect the South China Sea, large parts of which are claimed by China, at the Thai border in the east with the strategic shipping routes of the Straits of Malacca in the west. It is among the most prominent projects in China's controversial Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to build a modern-day "Silk Road" connecting the world's second-largest economy by land corridors to Southeast Asia, Pakistan and Central Asia and maritime routes opening up trade with the Middle East and Europe.
CRRC signs $400m contract of unmanned trains with Malaysia - Business - Chinadaily.com.cn ChinaDaily 4th Aug 2017
A consortium led by the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) has signed a $400 million contract to provide the Malaysia National Infrastructure Corporation with 42 high-tech unmanned trains. The agreement is China's first export of fully automatic trains. The total value of the contract is about 1.56 billion ringgit, or more than $400 million. Experts say the trains employ the highest standards in driverless technology. The trains will also use other advanced technology to enhance safety and stability. Forty of the trains will be manufactured in Malaysia.
AirAsia to consolidate regional units as expansion plans take off Free Malaysia Today 29th Aug 2017
AirAsia Bhd plans to consolidate its various regional affiliates under one holding company, in contrast to a scattered structure now, as the airline takes off on a rapid expansion path in its core Southeast Asian markets. The Malaysia-based carrier, currently the listed investment holding company and the operating firm for AirAsia’s Malaysian airline business, proposed a share exchange and transfer of listing with newly created AirAsia Group Bhd, or Newco. Under the reorganisation, the investment holding function and the Malaysian airline business will be separated.
Second industry briefing for KL-Singapore high speed rail AssetsCo tender NST Online 23rd Aug 2017
KUALA LUMPUR: MyHSR Corp Sdn Bhd and the Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA) will jointly conduct a second industry briefing on September 26 as they prepare to solicit bids for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) assets company (AssetsCo).
Najib: Malaysia beat all expectations in second quarter growth The Star 18th Aug 2017
The manufacturing and construction sectors are two industries that contributed significantly to the country's 5.8% economic growth in the second quarter this year, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. The Prime Minister commended the industry players for their contribution to the country's achievement in terms of the increase in the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
The real economics of ECRL the star 12th Aug 2017
TOK Bali, a fishing village in Kelantan with its beautiful sandy beaches and pristine blue waters has long been a hidden gem among well-travelled backpackers. But that may soon change. The idyllic town is one that is touted to potentially become a tourist hotspot, as it sits along the alignment of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), a multi-billion infrastructure project that promises many economic spin-offs.
State Counsellor stresses Belt and Road needs to align national priorities The Myanmar Times 28th Aug 2017
Local analysts and commentators in Myanmar have spelt out some of the benefits and risks of Myanmar’s participation in Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 as “One Belt, One Road”, the initiative involves China underwriting billion-dollar investments, mainly in physical infrastructure, in countries along the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, creating an extensive trade network by linking the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa. The financial commitment illustrates the ambition: China is spending roughly US$150 billion a year in the 68 countries which have signed on to the project. While President Xi announced his grand plan when he visited Kazakhstan and Indonesia in 2013, the BRI did not attract the attention of the government, private sector and media in Myanmar until State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi paid a visit to the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in the Chinese capital in May.
Grab expands full operations in Myanmar Eleven Myanmar 9th Aug 2017
Online-based taxi service Grab says it is ready to expand in Myanmar after what the company has hailed as a successful four-month trial of its services. Hooi Ling Tan, co-founder of Singapore-based Grab, said the company had gathered positive feedback during the period and was confident on the outlook for its Myanmar operations. “It has been only four months. But the growth has been large. We are here today to expand our services. Hopefully we can attract a lot more passengers,” she said at a press conference. Tan said the company – which has operations across Southeast Asia - was encouraged by the community’s receptiveness to the service and the support given by the government since March, when it started business operations in the country.
India Builds Highway to Thailand to Counter China's Silk Road Bloomberg.com 8th Aug 2017
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government approved $256 million to upgrade a section of a remote border road last month, few took notice. Yet India’s decision to revive plans for the trilateral highway, part of an ambitious 1,360-kilometer (845 mile) crossing to link northeastern India with markets in Thailand and beyond, marks the next phase in the jostle between New Delhi and Beijing for economic and strategic influence in the region. In the last two years alone, India has assigned more than $4.7 billion in contracts for the development of its border roads, according to government figures, including the highway which will run from Moreh in Manipur through Tamu in Myanmar to Mae-Sot in Thailand.
Insight: Suu Kyi's man in Yangon under fire over transit deal with China Channel NewsAsia 7th Aug 2017
Aung San Suu Kyi's first major infrastructure project could hardly be more visible: hundreds of new yellow buses now plying the streets of Yangon in what her ruling party hopes will be a potent symbol of how it is transforming peoples' lives. But two deals to import 2,000 buses from China estimated at more than US$100 million have caused an unusual rift within her National League for Democracy (NLD), with regional lawmakers questioning its cost and accusing Yangon's chief minister Phyo Min Thein, a Suu Kyi protégé, of cronyism and a lack of accountability. "Phyo Min Thein's government lacks transparency," said Kyaw Zay Ya, a Yangon NLD lawmaker. "The image of the government will be damaged if he doesn't change."
How to fix Yangon's mobility crisis Frontier Myanmar 4th Aug 2017
Acute traffic congestion in Yangon is not just annoying – it is bad for the economy and for the health of the city’s citizens. Workers waste time and money getting to and from their jobs; companies waste time and money moving goods through the city; and idle vehicles crawling through downtown streets spew pollutants into the atmosphere that contribute to debilitating respiratory illnesses. How did things get so bad and what can be done about it? This is the question I sought to answer through a recently concluded research project funded by the International Growth Centre, a research centre based at the London School of Economics and Political Science in partnership with the University of Oxford.
Myanmar's infrastructure deficit outpaces the world Nikkei Asian Review 16th Aug 2017
A wide-ranging assessment of Myanmar's infrastructure deficit and its ability to start closing the gap has found that the country is likely to meet only half of those investment needs by 2040, dampening hopes that it can lift the estimated 54 million population out of poverty by then. Of the 50 nations surveyed for the recently released Global Infrastructure Outlook report, Myanmar fared the worst. The report's authors estimated infrastructure investment needs for all the nations up to 2040, compared them with projected infrastructure investments for the same time frame, and calculated the disparity -- the "gap." Myanmar had the biggest gap, estimated to be worth $112 billion. The finding has implications for millions of people living in Myanmar without power or paved roads, and for the government of de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, which has promised rapid reform.
Duterte seeks Chinese construction firm’s help in ‘build, build, build’ The Manila Times 23rd Aug 2017
President Rodrigo Duterte is seeking China’s help to improve his country’s dilapidated infrastructure when he met with the officials of the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) Ltd. on Wednesday. Duterte received the CCCC officials in a courtesy call in Malacanang, where he thanked the company for pursuing projects in the Philippines. “We’re happy that you have come to pass by to talk about anything and everything. So we’re hopeful that talks now could produce results for the good and our welfare also,” the President said.
PH can tap $4.6B in loans, non-lending aid from ADB, says finance dept The Manila Times 20th Aug 2017
The Department of Finance (DoF) over the weekend said the Philippine government could tap a total of $4.6 billion worth of loans and non-lending programs from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to help fund its accelerated spending on infrastructure and social services. In a breakdown, the Philippines can tap about $3.8 billion in loans and another $21.8 million in the form of non-lending programs, the agency’s International Finance Group (IFG) said in a report.
Uber temporarily suspends its operations GMA News Online 15th Aug 2017
Transport Network Company (TNC) Uber System Inc. on Tuesday temporarily suspended its operations in compliance with the one-month suspension imposed by the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB). In a statement, Uber said that the order is effective 6 a.m. on Tuesday, August 15. "We are deeply committed to serving our riders and driver-partners, and are doing everything we can to resolve this situation at the soonest possible time," Uber said.
Can the Philippines Afford Duterte's Infrastructure Spending Spree? The Diplomat 5th Aug 2017
Plans by the Philippines’ firebrand President Rodrigo Duterte to bolster the economy with an ambitious multi-billion dollar infrastructure program are coming under scrutiny amid nervousness over the financing and implementation of proposed projects. Critics have been particularly concerned that loans sought from China could saddle the country with heavy debts and possibly leave it vulnerable to Chinese pressure over the South China Sea. The Philippines recently won an arbitration award invalidating Beijing’s claim to most of the international waterway, but Manila has not attempted to enforce the ruling in its eagerness to secure funds from China.
PAL dusts off NAIA 2 dev’t pitch BusinessWorld 31st Aug 2017
PHILIPPINE AIRLINES (PAL) has revived its proposal to build a P20-billion ($400-million) annex to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 to address congestion. “We propose to construct a Terminal 2 annex, essentially a whole new terminal connected to the current Terminal 2,” PAL President Jaime J. Bautista said yesterday in his speech at the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) General Membership Meeting.
Government to create ‘war room’ for ‘BBB’ project monitoring | BusinessMirror BusinessMirror 23rd Aug 2017
The interagency flagship project-monitoring task force will use technology and even create its own “war room” in checking the progress of big-ticket administration projects, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).
7 groups buy bid documents for Clark int’l airport phase 1 BusinessWorld 23rd Aug 2017
SEVEN GROUPS have bought bid documents ahead of pre-qualification for the Clark International Airport Phase 1 upgrade, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said. The groups purchasing the P1-million bid documents for the P12.55-billion project are: the First Balfour, Inc. and Datem, Inc. joint venture; the Megawide Construction Corp. and GMR Infrastructure joint venture; Towking Construction Corp.; Qingjian Group Co., Ltd.; R-II Builders, Inc.; China Harbour Engineering Co., Ltd.; and China State Construction Engineering Corp.
DepEd to hire more teachers, build more classrooms | BusinessMirror BusinessMirror 15th Aug 2017
Education Secretary Leonor M. Briones on Tuesday said a big chunk of the P612.12-billion proposed budget for 2018 will go to the construction and maintenance of school facilities as part of its goal of providing quality education.
Ayala looks to partner with MPIC for MRT-3 rehab BusinessWorld 14th Aug 2017
AYALA CORP. plans to team up with Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) to rehabilitate and upgrade the Metro Railway Transit (MRT) Line 3, as the country’s oldest conglomerate gears up to start exporting locally produced KTM motorcycles to China.
LRT 1 coach supplier likely known this month–LRMC | BusinessMirror BusinessMirror 8th Aug 2017
The government should have nearly completed the delivery of the 120 new train coaches for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 by now. Today, however, the government just moved a step closer to awarding the contract to a Japanese supplier.
Duterte seeks 184.6% increase in roads budget for tourism areas | BusinessMirror BusinessMirror 8th Aug 2017
THE Duterte administration has proposed a higher budget for the construction of more roads and infrastructure to improve access to major tourism areas in the country.
‘Build, Build, Build’ push weighs on peso Business World 7th Aug 2017
PHILIPPINE construction firm Teravera Corp. plans to raise a fourth dollar loan in a year, after borrowing around $2.5 million to buy dozens of excavators, road rollers and dump trucks from China, South Korea and Japan. President Rodrigo R. Duterte says he plans a $180-billion “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure campaign in his six-year term. AFP
Infrastructure the key for S'pore in Asean's second 50 years The Straits Times 18th Aug 2017
Singapore's future prosperity depends heavily on the international channels that it builds and the international partnerships that it nurtures. And infrastructure will be key to both of these. As Asean turns 50 and Singapore 52, it is a good time to reflect on whether Singapore's good run and role within Asean will continue. Whatever one's view of the first point, it seems a fairly moot point because Singapore is clearly not leaving its future to chance. Earlier this year, Singapore's Committee on the Future Economy identified several themes and initiatives necessary for its continued prosperity. Perhaps predictably, most of these initiatives were aimed at improving Singapore's international connectivity, especially within Asean.
We are not done building Singapore yet: Lawrence Wong The Straits Times 16th Aug 2017
Singapore may already look "built-up" but major infrastructure projects that will unfold here over the next 10 years will put the economy on an even stronger footing, said Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance, yesterday. Mr Wong told 600 representatives from more than 40 countries at the Singapore Regional Business Forum at the Ritz-Carlton: "Singapore may be a little red dot, very small; some of you may have the impression that we are already very built-up. But, in fact, we are not done building Singapore yet. We have not reached our physical limits. "The infrastructure that we're putting in will include several major pieces. For example, we will be building a new Terminal 5 that will double everything that you see in Changi Airport today.
Singapore needs to participate as super partner in infrastructure development The Business Times 7th Aug 2017
ASIA'S continued growth is highly dependent on infrastructure. Developing Asia will require US$26 trillion over the 15 years from 2016 to 2030, or US$1.7 trillion per year. With Singapore's outstanding achievement in the last 50 years of nation building, the country is in a good position to contribute to this opportunity and benefit from this growth.
Govt dangles B68bn development carrot Bangkok Post 23rd Aug 2017
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his government have approved a hefty 68-billion-baht infrastructure package to rev up the Northeast's economy to a mixed response. As the mobile cabinet meeting in Nakhon Ratchasima came to an end locals received news of the funding package coolly, suggesting the prime minister will need to do more to crack the red-shirt stronghold. The cabinet allocated 1.7 billion baht for the construction of the Thai-Sino Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima high-speed train, 33 billion baht for a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) venture for the operation and maintenance of a Bangpa-in-Nakhon Ratchasima motorway, and 2.6 billion baht to elevate the double-track railway in a downtown section of Nakhon Ratchasima.
Thailand delays launch of US$3b infrastructure fund again The Edge Markets 23rd Aug 2017
The launch of Thailand's 100 billion-baht (US$3 billion) infrastructure fund is likely to be delayed to after September, a senior finance ministry official said on Wednesday. The government will try to get the "Thailand Future Fund" started by the end of the year, Somchai Sujjapongse, the ministry's permanent secretary, told reporters. The fund was first announced in 2015 as the junta sought to finance investment projects to boost economic growth, but its rollout has been repeatedly delayed.
Five airlines expand flights to Thailand's global aviation hub eTurboNews (eTN) 8th Aug 2017
Five international airlines are expanding air access to Thailand with new flights from Beijing, Doha, Istanbul, Maldives, India’s Jaipur and Tiruchirappalli, and Singapore, strengthening the Kingdom’s status as a global aviation hub. The new flights offer visitors greater convenience and more choice for point of entry when travelling to and from Thailand. The country’s aviation authorities continue to expand both flight frequency and international gateway destinations to handle growing traveller demand and the never-ending quest for new itineraries. Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said, “Thailand has long been the key portal to Asia and global aviation hub. Steady passenger growth depends on more flights and finding new entry points to the country. These new flights provide visitors with more choice, flexibility and convenience when travelling or making connections to major cities around Thailand. We hope that the expanded air access boosts tourism arrivals.”
Vietnamese PM orders aviation insiders to cut delays by improving human element - VnExpress International VnExpress International 16th Aug 2017
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has issued a directive instructing the aviation industry to improve services such as safety and flight schedules and stop blaming its problems on strained infrastructure. Air travel in Vietnam has been booming in recent years and increased competition has led to better services, but flight delays and cancelations remain a major setback, the prime minister was quoted as saying in a statement presented at a meeting in Hanoi Wednesday with national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, the Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation and the Airports Corporation of Vietnam. Mai Tien Dung, chairman of the Government Office, said at the meeting, which was not attended by the prime minister himself, that the agencies should cooperate to fix these problems.
Strong MA role seen in infrastructure development News VietNamNet 11th Aug 2017
Increased merger and acquisition (M&A) activities can spur infrastructure development in Vietnam, a current growth imperative, Planning and Investment Minister Nguyen Chí Dung said yesterday. He told an M&A forum in Hanoi that the sector has entered a new chapter in the 2014 to 2018 period, riding what experts have called the second wave of investment. The capital inflow from foreign investors during this period is expected to reach US$20 billion, 25 per cent of which could happen this year. This is largely driven by equitisation commitments of major State owned enterprises, the rise of private sector and steady investment from foreign economic entities.
Over 55 million passengers arrive through airports during first seven months News VietNamNet 7th Aug 2017
A total of 9.11 million passengers arrived at Vietnamese airports in July, up 12.2% over the same period of 2016, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV). From the beginning of this year, the overall output of passengers through Vietnam's airports and airfields reached 55.41 million. Of the number, international arrivals accounted for 2.34 million, up 2.1% and domestic visitors at 6.77 million, up 16.2% over the same period last year. According to a previous report by CAAV, during the first six months of the year, the aviation market continued to a show high growth rate, serving 30.3 million visitors, an increase of 19.5% over the same period in 2016.
City seeks more funding sources for infrastructure projects vietnamnews.vn 5th Aug 2017
An additional VNĐ20 trillion (US$883 million) needed for infrastructure projects by 2020 will have to come from the city budget as well as from private sources, as disbursement of state budget funds remains slow, the deputy chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, Trần Vĩnh Tuyến, has said. As of the end of July, only VNĐ13.2 trillion ($583 million) had been disbursed of the VNĐ26.2 trillion ($1.16 billion) from state budget funds allocated this year for infrastructure projects in the city, according to the Department of Planning and Investment. The city still needs Official Development Assistance (ODA) funds of VNĐ7.7 trillion ($340 million) for projects for the rest of the year, but State funds can only provide 50 per cent of that figure.