Rakyat excited about future

PETALING JAYA: The people have greeted the economic regions mapped out by the Government with excitement because they have seen the multitude of opportunities open to them.  

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said public reception to the development corridors was good.  

“There is excitement when they hear we are going to bring development to the corridor areas,” he said last night in a recorded interview on VIP Awani on Astro Awani, a newly launched 24-hour news and information channel. The interview was conducted in Putrajaya last Thursday.  

Repeats of the interview are scheduled to be aired at 8.30am and 8.30pm today, at 12.30am tomorrow and Saturday at 8.30pm.  

In terms of education and the economic regions, the Government was setting up universities, colleges and community colleges which people would view as providing opportunities for their children, he said. 

“And if we emphasise on business and industry at the SME level, they know this will give good opportunities to the ordinary folk,” he said. 

The Government recently launched the Iskandar Development Region and Northern Corridor Economic Region.  

Abdullah will launch the East Coast Economic Region next month and similar corridors are being planned for Sabah and Sarawak.  

Asked how the Government would ensure that ordinary Malaysians reaped benefits from the economic regions and not major companies or foreign investors, the prime minister said the Government would create many opportunities to include them such as in tourism, agriculture and small and medium industries. 

On whether the good economic climate in Malaysia would bring on early general election, he laughed and said: 

“That one, wait first. We still have a mandate of two years.” 

On human capital and what was needed to develop creative thinking and innovation, he said the Government was concentrating on developing a curriculum, especially at higher education levels, that catered to the needs of the industry, market demand and relevance of various sectors. 

Abdullah said that his speech at the United Nations General Assembly this Thursday would focus on the Middle East conflict and economic matters facing developing countries such as poverty.  

On the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Abdullah said the major powers involved must find a solution that was fair to both parties.  

Asked about the US sub-prime crisis and what preparations were being made by the Government, Abdullah said Bank Negara was keeping a close watch on it and expressed confidence that the issue would not affect the country as the economy was still strong.  

He said Malaysian-made products must be of good quality and be reasonably priced to overcome any trade barriers.