Infrastructure Plans in Key Asean Countries ahead of the AEC
As we enter the countdown phase for the start of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) on 31 December this year, it’s notable just how many of the countries which are expected to be the early economic leaders in the 10-member group have started or have planned some major infrastructure developments.
In Thailand, we have covered the various planned infrastructure projects in previous articles, but will recap on some of these here. The military-installed government has set aside a substantial budget for transport infrastructure for 2016 and approved additional monies to be used to upgrade and add to three major highways linking Bangkok to industrial zones.
Thailand also has in place a massive five-year infrastructure plan which includes developing a series of high-speed train routes.
For Thailand, its geographic advantage as a transit point for material from China to travel overland into Malaysia and Singapore, and vice versa, as well as a link between Myanmar and Cambodia and Vietnam as well as Malaysia cannot be underestimated.
In Singapore, the government has announced a five-year plan aimed at upgrading its already top-quality public transport infrastructure, which includes expanding the Mass Rapid Transport network. There are also plans to build two new airport terminals.
The Indonesian government has announced plans to start construction of the Sukarno-Hatta International Airport rail link by the end of this year. As well, it has planned the development of the Trans-Sumatra Highway, which will stretch for a whopping 2,700 kilometres.
In Malaysia, the government, like its neighbours, is investing huge sums in a public infrastructure program. Two of the biggest projects are a mass rail transport network around Kuala Lumpur and a 1,633-kilometre long highway linking the two eastern states of Sarawak and Sabah, on the island of Borneo.
Although it was upgraded some years ago, the international airport in Ho Chi Minh City has been slated for a sizable expansion and improvement plan by the Vietnamese National Assembly. The government has recognized Ho Chi Minh City as the pre-eminent centre in the country in terms of tourist arrivals as well as being the focal point for foreign businesses and expatriates. Upgrading the airport to a standard similar to that of its key economic competitors is common sense.
As well, work has already begun on creating a mass rail transport network in both Ho Chi Minh City and the capital, Hanoi.
Finally, the Philippines has awarded a contract for the development of a 44.6-kilometre expressway between the provinces of Cavite and Laguna and the Mactan-Cebu international passenger terminal project has also commenced.
The governments in all the AEC nations expect improved competitiveness will lead to higher volumes of foreign direct investment (FDI) which will only further enhance overall living standards.