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PEMANDU seems to be delivering on its lofty promise to transform Malaysia into a high-income nation by 2020 with extraordinary efficiency. 113 EPPs (Entry Point Projects) worth RM177 billion of investment and creating nearly 390,000 jobs have been announced. 97 of these are already underway and 1 is up and running.

However, while gazes followed the celebratory fireworks, REFSA sniffed out some gritty truths. Some of these projects were already underway before the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) was created. What was PEMANDU’s contribution to these pre-existing projects? Were they cherry-picked to help PEMANDU show ‘quick-wins’?

PEMANDU might claim to have helped cut red-tape for these projects. The bigger picture is frightening if it did indeed do so. The project owners included huge multinationals, a government-linked corporation (GLC) and a prominent Malaysian businessman. If such big guns need PEMANDU’s help in navigating Malaysian government bureaucracy to bring their business ideas to life, what hope does a small fry with a really transformative idea have?

In Part 3 of our Critique of the ETP, REFSA peers behind the glitzy façade to shed some light on the tawdry execution of the programme.

Click here for an archive of our Focus Papers.

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REFSA is an independent, not-for-profit research institute providing relevant and reliable information on social, economic and political issues affecting Malaysians with the aim of promoting open and constructive...