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10  theSun | FRIDAY DECEMBER 12 2008

news without borders

Malaysia unlikely to achieve

Vision 2020, says Dr M
by Maria J. Dass economic stability,” he said. This will make the handling of the economic
crisis more difficult.
PUTRAJAYA: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir said he doubted the success of the
Mahathir Mohamad doubts Malaysia will achieve growth corridors launched by the government as
Vision 2020, which was mooted during his time. the infrastructure and preparations in the targeted
He attributes his pessimism to weak govern- areas seem to be neglected. “It is over-priced and
ance, lower growth rate, and political instability. much of the money involved will not be going into
The objective of the vision is to achieve the construction,” he said.
status of an industrialised and a fully developed He said the solution does not lie in increasing
nation by 2020. salaries to help people cope with the rising costs.
Responding to questions after speaking on The key is reducing expenditure without
“Global Financial Uncertainties and the Future of hurting too many people, he said. “We have to
Malaysia” at the Bridges Dialogues Towards a Cul- downsize and reduce costs involved even in the
ture of Peace, facilitated by the International Peace government for now and allocate funds for things
Foundation, here yesterday, he said: “I don’t think that can contribute to growth,” he said.
we will be able to achieve Vision 2020 because, Mahathir said the global economic crisis this
unlike most other countries in this region, we are time should be handled together by all countries in
facing political instability for the first time. the world and there needs to be focus on revamp-
“This is something we are not familiar with ing the global banking and regulatory systems and
and we have to resolve all these and focus on international monetary regime.
achieving our growth target. The handling of the crisis by small groups of
“So, at the moment, I don’t think we will be countries will see these countries coming up with
able to achieve Vision 2020.” solutions which benefit them, he said. If this is not
Mahathir said that when the 30-year plan was done, all other solutions will merely be cosmetic.
launched, Malaysia had a growth rate of 8% per Prof Robert Fry Engle, Nobel laureate for Eco-
annum over the 10 years before that. nomics and the Michael Armellino professor of
“Then the 1997/98 economic crisis pulled us finance at New York University’s Stern School of
back and we also did not anticipate the radical Business, who also delivered his theories at the
changes to the administration of the country.” talk, agreed.
He described the present government as weak “We are all in this together, so there is a need
and pandering to the demands of some quarters to look for a cooperative situation to resolve the
in a bid to regain its popularity. situation,” he said.
“The result of this is not a liberal society but we He said he could not determine how long this
are seeing some resurgence in racism involving crisis would last but said the key to resolving it
all ethnic groups and this will affect the country’s was cooperation.

UEM accepts RM1.3b

contract to co-build bridge
UEM Builders Bhd has finally accepted the
Penang state government’s offer of a RM1.3
billion contract to co-build the Penang Second Press Digest
Bridge after it was given several extensions to by Kong See Hoh
take up the offer, Nanyang Siang Pau reported
The daily, which reported that Jambatan point in their earlier talks – have entered the
Kedua Sdn Bhd (JKSB) managing director Tan Sri final stages.
Zaini Omar had confirmed UEM’s acceptance The two parties are expected to ink the deal
of the offer, said the company had reached a next month.
preliminary agreement with JKSB to build the Barring any turn of event, UEM will begin
super-structure section of the bridge. work on the super-structure section of the
“Yes, it is still them (UEM). We have reached bridge in April next year, to enable the project
a deal, they have agreed to undertake the to be completed by 2011 as scheduled.
project,” he said. Zaini’s confirmation that UEM remains
Zaini disclosed that UEM had accepted a CHEC’s partner in the bridge project quashed
preliminary offer of the contract about a month earlier speculation in the media that JKSB, a
ago, but said that even if the company asked government-owned special vehicle, had been
for another extension, it would not affect the scouting for another builder to work with
whole project as work on the super-structure CHEC.
would start only five months after work on the Earlier press reports said UEM had demanded
sub-structure had begun. RM1.5 billion instead of the RM1.3 million it had
The RM2.2 billion contract for the sub- been offered.
structure and mid-span has been awarded Zaini, during a briefing on the Second Penang
to China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd Bridge to the state government on Sept 16, had
(CHEC). said UEM had been given two weeks to accept
Zaini also disclosed that negotiations bet- the offer, failing which it would be offered to
ween JKSB and UEM on pricing – the sticking other parties by restricted tender.

‘Bosses should do more for staff well-being’

by S. Tamarai Chelvi as long working hours and unreasonably high expectations as causes of health problems, stress
and sleepiness in the workplace.
PETALING JAYA: Malaysian workers believe Kelly Services (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd vice-presi-
employers should be responsible for ensuring dent and country general manager Melissa Nor-
their health and fitness in the workplace, and one man said the study showed workplace influenced
in four said their work had a negative impact on the way in which people viewed their health and
their health. well-being.
These were among the findings of a global “For many employees, their work has a sig-
survey on workforce health conducted by Kelly nificant impact on their health, and with people
Services Inc. The survey found that 87% of Ma- spending a great deal of their time at work, it’s
laysian respondents believed employers should worth looking at ways to better integrate work and
contribute to their employees’ well-being by health,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.
enabling flexible hours, access to gym facilities “There is no question that employers play
and less workplace stress. a significant role in improving health in many
The survey sought the views of 115,000 workplaces,” Norman said.
people in 33 countries including more than 2,000 She said organisations that offer health and
employees in Malaysia. fitness benefits to staff help to generate a more
The respondents also identified issues such productive and motivated workforce.