education in MalaysiaIn March 2019, Malaysia’s Minister of Education, Dr. Maszlee bin Malik, recently partnered with Microsoft’s STEM4ALL initiative to provide a higher level of STEM education in Malaysia. STEM4ALL stays true to its name, targeting all students across the country equally to encourage interest in STEM fields and ensure graduates possess a wide span of technological information to take into future careers.

Malaysia’s Current Educational System

In 2018, Malaysia had 9,404 children under the age of 18, which is 29 percent of the total population in 2018. Out of those children, 2,565 of them are under the age of five when many children are starting pre-school or kindergarten. Pre-school is not compulsory in Malaysia, but it is available.

Malaysia currently has six years of primary compulsory education, from ages six to 12. Secondary education is not compulsory as of 2018. Primary enrollment had increased from 2,770,340 to 2,795,058 between 2015 to 2017. Unfortunately, primary school enrollment rates dropped to 2,693,318 students enrolled in 2018. Secondary enrollment in 2018 was lower at 2,041,798 students.

Microsoft’s STEM4ALL

Microsoft has been known for assisting educational programs throughout South Asia within recent years with notable programs in India and Sri Lanka. STEM4ALL is Microsoft’s latest venture to emphasize STEM education throughout primary and secondary schools around the country. The campaign targets students, parents, educators and lawmakers around the country to put STEM education at the forefront of school materials to keep up with the current demand in technological field advancements.

The program encourages after-school STEM programs in multiple schools around Malaysia, impacting an estimated 100,000 students. Microsoft’s campaign is working to target all students regardless of social situations. STEM4ALL is meant to reach both urban and rural school areas to improve education in Malaysia overall. The program hosted a panel to discuss Malaysian STEM education and discussed the impact of AI on the educational and workforce environments throughout the country.

Key Events from the STEM4ALL Conference

The panel discussion, hosted by the Prime Minister of Education, included two prominent students in the world of technological advancements. The two students were Serena Zara Taufiq, the CEO of an outreach for children with autism called ‘Serena’s Secrets,’ and Chloe Soh Ke Er, who debuted her latest robot to help with agricultural management at the conference.

The conference focused on the recent impact of AI and technology on future job environments. Artificial Intelligence is shaping career paths around the world, and Microsoft is working to ensure that all students are gaining an efficient skillset to keep up with technology changes. Using new technologies will also improve learning techniques through classrooms in Malaysia.

Microsoft School Partnerships

Microsoft recently began funding the AI Business School for current business leaders throughout Malaysia. The classes will infuse more technological skills into the current business world to keep up with changes in current job markets. Students who succeed in the STEM classes will have more opportunities in the business world to use their education.

Through STEM4ALL, Microsoft has also partnered with Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka as a pilot school for the ‘Microsoft Professional Program for Data Science Curriculum’ (MPP). This is the largest version of the MPP program in the educational world. MPP is starting with 250 students to gain Microsoft data science certifications and improve the overall quality of education in Malaysia. The program’s goals align with the national goal to educate 20,000 data scientists by 2020.

Microsoft’s STEM4ALL campaign is expected to have a massive impact on the students of Malaysia. The campaign impacts all students regardless of major and education track. It ensures that proper technological knowledge is embedded in school systems across the country. The program will also ensure that education in Malaysia is adapting positively with the ever-changing technological environment in the workforce inside and outside the country’s borders.

Kristen E. Bastin
Photo: Flickr

Malaysian Women
In the country of Malaysia where 30 million people are affected by widespread poverty, human trafficking, crime, a growing Islamic movement, as well as numerous other misfortunes, women are the most affected by these problems. In some Islamic cultures, there is an outlook that Muslim women should be subservient, submissive and should not have equal rights. However, compared to other Islamic countries, women’s aid in Malaysia has been a much greater success.

In this Southeast Asian country, there have been significant developments in the fight to protects women’s rights. One such organization that has joined this fight is the Women’s Aid Organization. This organization is challenging the antiquated views of women as well as helping to end violence against women and work towards equality between men and women.

The Women’s Aid Organization

The Women’s Aid Organization (WAO) was started, courtesy of Tan Siew Sin, the first Minister of Commerce and Industry in Malaysia, who donated a cash reward of RM 30 thousand to establish a shelter for battered women and their children in 1979. This shelter was eventually made into what is today the Women’s Aid Organization.

The vision of this organization is for violence against women to be eliminated. Its mission statement is “to promote and create respect, protection and fulfillment of equal rights for women. To work towards the elimination of discrimination against women, and to bring about equality between women and men.” Women’s aid in Malaysia has been largely influenced by this organization.

The objective of the Women’s Aid Organization is to provide protection, shelter and counseling to women and their children in the case of mental, physical or sexual abuse at any given time. The WAO also takes on research into the factors that play a part in the inequality of women.

Additionally, the organization advocates with government organizations and NGO’s to abolish factors contributing to the subordination of women through law, policy and organized reforms. It strives to provide a better understanding of the issues of violence against women and the underlying inequalities that they face on a daily basis.

Programs in the Women’s Aid Organization

The Women’s Aid Organization has three main services available to help women and their children in times of need.

  1. The first service is the Refuge, which operates as a shelter for abused women and their children. The Refuge is the center for WAO activities to educate women about domestic violence and women and family concerns, which are inevitably associated with this issue.
  2. The second service is the Child Care Centre, which is a place for children of former WAO’s residents who are going back to work and starting their lives over. The children of these women are cared for, either full-time or during the mother’s work hours, and provided an education at local schools along with recreational activities.
  3. The third service is social work, which is the center for advocacy on behalf of the women and children needing help. This section provides services to help women through legal, medical and welfare departments and ensure they are being treated fairly.

These services give women and their children the support and protection they need. Through the combination of these programs and several other services offered through the WAO, an extremely supportive system is created for maltreated women to use whenever it is needed.

Women’s aid in Malaysia has come a long way because of the WAO. Compared to other Islamic countries, this country is more progressive in its approach to the issue of women’s inequalities. Through more organizations like this one, women’s rights will become more of a priority for the authority figures of Malaysia. Aid is very much so needed in this Southeast Asian country, but much more so for women, whose odds are stacked up against them because of the way they have been seen in society for so long.

– Megan Maxwell
Photo: Flickr

Is it Possible to Eradicate HIV in Malaysia?
In Malaysia, 31.6 million people live below the national poverty line, meaning they live on less than $1.90 a day. In 2014, World Bank reported that 0.6 percent of the population lived below the national poverty line.

While this statistic may seem optimistic, Malaysia still has big problems in trying to reduce HIV for the country’s poorest. Malaysia is ranked seventh highest in the prevalence of HIV in the adult population amongst all Asian countries. 

Current Situation

The Malaysia AIDS Council reported in 2016 that there were 3,397 new cases of the HIV infection. This number contributed to the overall population of people living with HIV in Malaysia, which is reportedly 93,089 people. Additionally, there were 911 AIDS-related deaths that same year. 

After failing to meet their Millennium Development Goal in reducing HIV/AIDS amongst the population, the government responded by introducing a variety of harm reduction programs. These programs predominately aim to reduce the amount of drug injection users in the country, since they are particularly vulnerable to HIV contraction.

Reduction Programs

World Bank reports that HIV harm reduction programs are the “most cost-effective” programs in terms of future savings. The projection of long-term benefits from 2006 to 2050 indicated savings of around $22 million. 

These types of programs have significantly reduced the number of new HIV cases amongst drug injection users. World Bank reports that in 2005 there were around 4,000 new cases of HIV within the Malaysian population. In 2017, the statistic dropped to merely 115 new cases. The prevalence of HIV in Malaysia amongst drug injection users reduced between 2009 and 2017, from 22 percent to 13.4 percent.

The Needle and Syringe Exchange Programme

Created in 2006, The Needle and Syringe Exchange Programme (NSEP) was introduced by the Ministry of Health and the Malaysian AIDS Council. It was a community-based health care service, primarily for people who inject drugs. As of 2012, they reached more than 24,000 registered people.

The activities of the NSEP in Malaysia include exchanging used needles for sterile ones, disposing of needles in a safe manner, educating, providing rehabilitation and encouraging safer sex practices through condom distribution. The service also provides Drop-In Centers that allow patients to receive counseling, light treatment, meals and a place to rest.

Patients receiving aid from NSEP are typically aged from 25 to 50. People under 18 cannot visit the Drop-In centers and are referred to other services. There are currently 17 Outreach Sites associated with the program in all states within Malaysia- excluding Sabah and Sarawak.

Methadone Maintenance Therapy (MMT)

Methadone Maintenance Therapy is a form of drug replacement therapy. It functions by incrementally decreasing the amount of the drug injected into the user, slowly weaning them off the substance. The amounts are so low that users do not feel high when using it, and the process helps reduce the desire to inject altogether. This type of therapy reduces drug-related crimes and allows users to recover and return to work.

It became apparent after implementation of harm reduction therapy that many drug injection users were fishermen from the city ports on the east coast peninsula of Malaysia.

Successes

In 2011, the collective programs have reached approximately 35,000 injecting drug users. The latest National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS hoped to expand its reach to 136,000 drug users by 2015, which would equate to about 80 percent of the injecting drug user population in Malaysia.

Although not entirely fulfilled, the amount of the drug user population that began receiving Opiate Substitution Therapy, similar to Methadone Maintenance Therapy, was 50.4 percent by 2015. This was based on an estimate of the overall number of drug injection users in the country, which was 170,000 people.

The numbers show a drastic drop from the pandemic’s original scope. In 2002, there were 6,978 new cases of HIV, while in 2016 there were only 3,397 reported. This is a 60 percent drop in new cases of HIV in Malaysia. Out of all the new cases, 2,984 were sexually transmitted, while 377 were transmitted via drug use, which proves the success of implemented programs.

In 2015, the Global AIDS Response Report showed that there were almost 900 facilities throughout the country, both governmental and private, aimed at rehabilitation and therapy for HIV patients. This is a tremendous increase from the previous number in 2006, that was less than 100 facilities.

The projection of HIV cases in Malaysia shows a steady decline from its original peak in 2002. There are clear advancements in eradicating the disease amongst the population. More work needs to be done, yet the progress thus far is very promising.

– Taylor Jennings

Photo: Flickr

SOLS 24/7
SOLS 24/7 is an international humanitarian organization dedicated to ending poverty in Malaysia. It aims to provide poor and underserved people with technology and education to which they otherwise would not have access. The nonprofit runs five social enterprises to help eradicate poverty in Malaysia.

Five Ways SOLS 24/7 Promotes Technology and Education

  1. SOLS Energy
    SOLS Energy believes that solar panels are the best way to alleviate poverty in Malaysia in a lasting, sustainable way. Malaysia is the world’s third-largest producer of solar panels; local production makes solar panels affordable and their purchase supports the domestic economy. Malaysian homes with solar panels get, on average, a 16.9 percent return on their investment annually from being able to sell excess solar power to the electric grid. In total, the solar panels distributed by SOLS Energy have prevented more than 162,000 pounds of CO2 emissions from electricity generated by fossil fuels. SOLS Energy also runs Solar Academy, which trains Malaysians in solar technology to create jobs and spread the knowledge of how to maintain, install and repair solar panels.
  2. SOLS Tech
    SOLS Tech has a twofold goal: eliminate e-waste and spread digital literacy in Malaysia. As a licensed electronics refurbisher, SOLS Tech collects, repurposes and distributes discarded electronic devices. In 2015 alone, Malaysians discarded 44 million electronic devices. Rather than let this waste sit in landfills and pollute the environment, SOLS Tech fixes discarded electronics and shares them with those in need. Approximately 10 million Malaysians do not have access to a computer. SOLS 24/7 believes that computer literacy skills and computer ownership will widen economic opportunities and help alleviate poverty.
  3. SOLS Smart
    SOLS Smart aims to provide high quality and affordable education to all Malaysians. It teaches English and computer literacy, two skills that SOLS 24/7 views as essential to thriving in the modern economy. SOLS Smart is a certified Cambridge English Language Assessment Centre, meanings its students can take the internationally recognized Cambridge English Exams. Learning English and passing these exams opens new opportunities in employment and further education. To date, English classes have reached more than 10,000 Malaysians, and another 5,000 have received training in computer skills. SOLS Smart is one of seven Google for Education partners in Asia. Students are taught to use Google software and products and, at the end of their training, can receive an official certification from Google.
  4. SOLS Scholars
    SOLS Scholars works to help promising students from underprivileged Malaysian communities pursue higher education. It has held more than 100 development workshops, at which students receive academic coaching, job preparation training and college counseling. It has provided more than 450 scholarships to universities across Malaysia for students who otherwise would not be able to afford higher education.
  5. SOLS Edu
    Combining SOLS 24/7’s interests in education and technology, SOLS Edu is a digital learning platform that can be accessed by app or online. The idea behind SOLS Edu is to offer Malaysians, newly equipped with technology through the SOLS Tech program, another way to receive an education. The digital platform is interactive; students learn in a variety of ways (games, videos, etc.) and teachers remotely track students’ progress. SOLS 24/7 believes that access to education and technology will give Malaysians living in poverty new economic opportunities and a brighter future.

Through its many social enterprises, SOLS 24/7 is working to alleviate poverty in Malaysia. Its focus on both education and technology is reflective of the highly globalized, highly electronic modern world of today. By offering classes, job training and education opportunities, as well as providing people access to electricity and electronic devices, SOLS 24/7 is helping millions of poor Malaysians shape a brighter future for themselves.

– Abigail Dunn
Photo: Flickr

Girls’ education in MalaysiaGirls’ education and access to education have been improving around the world, particularly because of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals which set access to education as a major focus. In particular, girls’ education in Malaysia has been on an upward trend for the past few years.

Enrollment levels for girls are equal to or higher than enrollment for boys across the nation, and a higher number of girls complete advanced education than boys. Enrollment trends are a major way of assessing access to education and inclusion in the education system.

Malaysian Female Participation in STEM

However, while these statistics show real progress and effective attempts at change by the government and other organizations, there are still a number of issues that need to be addressed. For example, the number of girls participating in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in Malaysia is significantly lower than that of boys.

Girls in Malaysia need to be encouraged to pursue STEM fields and teachers and programs need to be more gender inclusive and sensitive. As STEM fields continue to grow in the nation, gender disparities will continue to increase unless they are targeted by policy and programs.

Gender Inequality in Girls’ Education in Malaysia

Another issue is that girls’ education in Malaysia is not translating into equal opportunities and empowerment once they finish school. In 2016, the World Economic Forum produced the Global Gender Gap Report which scored and ranked nations on the Global Gender Gap Index. It focused on five main aspects of equality: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment. Malaysia ranked 106 in the world, with a score of 0.666, where 1.00 indicates gender parity and 0.00 indicates the worst inequality.

While Malaysia scored a .985 for educational attainment, girls still do not have equal economic opportunities or political empowerment. This is an area that the government must focus on by implementing programs to target these issues and ensuring that education translates into tangible advantages once girls have left the school system and entered the workforce.

Working to Improve Education in Malaysia

There are a number of organizations that have committed to working on girls’ education in Malaysia, such as UNICEF Malaysia and the All Women’s Action Society Malaysia. These organizations can be an asset to the government and can further the progress that has already been made.

While these are not the only issues challenging gender parity, using a more targeted approach will be beneficial in the long run. With this approach to education and strong planning for the future, Malaysia may be on its way to a more well-rounded society.

– Liyanga de Silva
Photo: Flickr

U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to MalaysiaLast year, President Donald Trump proposed to cut U.S. foreign aid, offering even less money to go towards helping other countries. Any cuts to aid would have a major impact on recipient countries, considering that only about 1 percent of the United States’s federal budget goes to foreign aid. When discussing how much or how little the U.S. should be giving to help other countries, the question is often raised of how the U.S. benefits from foreign aid.

There are a few overall benefits that the U.S. receives when giving foreign aid to countries, such as promoting democracy and good governance, providing access to clean water, improving learning environments and helping end maternal and child mortality. The U.S. has a planned foreign assistance budget of $2 million for Malaysia in 2019. What are the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Malaysia specifically?

A focus of the Department of State’s relations with Malaysia is promoting peace and security. Within Malaysia specifically, the U.S. hopes to strengthen cooperation on law enforcement, nonproliferation, counterterrorism, rule of law and expand military ties. The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Malaysia by helping to strengthen regional and global institutions, creating better allies in Malaysia. David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee, remarked that global terrorist threats such as ISIS “grow out of poverty, instability and bad governance”. In giving foreign aid to countries like Malaysia, the U.S. benefits by combating major terrorist threats before they can even form, along with creating allies if and when terrorism does develop.

The U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to Malaysia Through Unique Manufacturing Partnership

Along with creating strong allies to fight against terrorism, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Malaysia as a partner in manufacturing. By promoting economic development through aid, Malaysia can further develop its production services, which provide many advantages and savings for American companies.

In a recent interview, vice president of global electronics company Flextronics Mark Shandley noted that many of the company’s customers felt more comfortable manufacturing their products in Malaysia than in other countries such as China. Shandley noted that this may be because of the “perception of intellectual protection” found in Malaysia, which is notably missing in China. Along with this, he noted that it could be more cost-effective to manufacture in Malaysia. China has a value-added tax, which is charged to non-Chinese companies and can be as high as 4 percent. However, Shandley notes that this is noticeably missing from Malaysia, resulting in lower production costs.

The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Malaysia by forming close ties between the two countries’ militaries and in the production of goods. U.S. foreign aid helps create partnership diplomatically and helps spread democracy within the country. This, in turn, helps create allies when needed and helps lessen the birth and spread of terrorist groups. Along with this, the U.S. can develop a strong production partnership that may be even more beneficial than the already existing alliance with China. All of these benefits reinforce the advantages of continued foreign aid, in Malaysia and all over the world.

– Marissa Wandzel

Photo: Flickr

credit access in Malaysia
Malaysia is a rapidly growing economic country with only 0.6 percent of its population living below the poverty line. The country’s economy is largely dependent on Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which comprise 36 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and also provide employment to 65 percent of the population.

Despite this success, however, financial institutions were reluctant in granting loans to SMEs, thereby making credit access in Malaysia difficult. The reasons behind these barriers include a lack of:

  • collateral to secure loans
  • capacity to borrow money
  • insufficient knowledge & track record of business

 

Small to Medium Enterprises

SMEs are important for Malaysia’s growth and development as these organizations represent almost 97 percent of the country’s business establishment; such enterprises therefore provide a vital source for job creations. Sometimes these small businesses start as an idea from a few people investing their own money or borrowing from friends and family.

With success, extension of businesses become inevitable and then require money to hire new people, develop new products and facilitate other business necessities. Due to this chain, the administration came up with ideas to ease the process of credit access in Malaysia.

 

Credit Guarantee Corporation

Credit Guarantee Corporation (CGC) of Malaysia with their 45 years of experience came with a wide variety of schemes for supporting SMEs. Some of them are Biz-Mula for Malaysian start-up companies, Biz-Wanita for women headed enterprises, Green Technology Financing Scheme (GTFS) for supporting sustainable energy and also other schemes for indigenous Malaysians.

The CGC schemes cover almost 50 to 90 percent of the risks of granting loans in exchange for a 2 to 3.5 percent fee; this coverage thus makes credit access in Malaysia accessible for many small to medium business organizations. The scheme is properly designed and verified so as to be accepted by the banks in Malaysia.

 

Benefits for Small and Medium Enterprises

Biz-Mula is a direct financing scheme for small businesses less than four years old. These schemes utilize Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) for the funding of SMEs. With certain eligibility and restriction criteria, the financing amounts range from 30,000 to 300,000 Malaysian roubles (RM).

Biz-Wanita scheme is the same as Biz-Wala except it only funds women entrepreneurs; both Biz-Mula and Biz-Wanita work for all economic sectors, except primary agriculture and micro-enterprises.

The GTFS provides opportunity for green investments by offering a 60 percent guarantee on the financing amount and a 2 percent discount on the interest or profit rates. This scheme was accessible from both private and commercial financial institutions till December 2017; this support greatly helped in the expansion of the green technology sector.

Pembiayaan Mikro scheme provides financing for up to 50,000 RM without collateral to micro enterprises who oftentimes lack credit history. The scheme can also offer lower-rate finance through BNM’s Micro Enterprise Fund.

 

Benefits from Foreign Direct Investments

Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in Malaysia ranged between $9 to $12 billion during the years of 2010 through 2017. According to the data gathered from the  Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), the majority of these investments stem from China, Japan, the Netherlands and the U.S. Generally, the funds originate from the service, mining, manufacturing and construction fields, and come with a promise of almost 61,930 job opportunities through 2,294 projects.

Malaysia is a country where credit access has been strategically eased for business growth through the lowering of collateral requirements, longer-term loans and lower interest rates. These changes were possible by joint initiatives from both the administration and financial institutions and hopefully will continue to be effective and helpful to the people of Malaysia.

– Mahua Mitra

Photo: Flickr

sustainable agriculture in MalaysiaSustainable agriculture in Malaysia centers on the production of palm oil. Globally, people consume more palm oil than any other vegetable oil and it is found as an ingredient in products ranging from soap to bread.

Palm oil grows in tropical environments, and Malaysia, located in southeast Asia, has that ideal climate. Because people consume such great quantities of palm oil, its vast production has large effects on the environment and the communities in which it is grown. As demand for palm oil continues to increase, conventional farming practices decrease biodiversity and harm the regions where it is grown.

However, on the positive side, when palm oil is produced sustainably, the environmental harms are minimized. While some countries use destructive farming practices such as clearing forests to grow palm oil, Malaysia is a model for sustainable agriculture.

Malaysian palm oil production meets the U.S. definition of sustainable agriculture. The U.S. standard is based on the 1990 Farm Bill by the Department of Agriculture. This bill lays out a framework for sustainable agricultural practices.

Malaysian production of palm oil is able to meet the standards of the bill largely due to Malaysia’s certification for sustainable palm oil, Malaysia Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO), which started in 2015 and will be mandatory by 2019. MSPO is based on seven principles that emphasize a commitment to sustainable agriculture in Malaysia.

Below are the seven principles and the ways palm oil farming practices commit to sustainable agriculture in Malaysia.

  1. Management and commitment responsibility
    Malaysia has committed to having 100 percent of its palm oil plantations MSPO certified by 2019.
  2. Transparency
    Malaysia is transparent with its agricultural practices as they pertain to palm oil. Additionally, Malaysia is transparent with the percentage of palm oil plantations that are MSPO certified and its plan to obtain 100 percent certification.
  3. Compliance with legal requirements
    This is a basic principle whereby Malaysian plantations will abide by laws and regulations governing palm oil agricultural practices.
  4. Social responsibility, health, safety and employment conditions
    The palm oil industry employs over 500,000 people in Malaysia and is an integral part of the economy. Growing palm oil improves the standard of living for many farmers in Malaysia and can aid in diminishing poverty.
  5. Environment, natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services
    Palm oil is an efficient crop, meaning a large amount of palm oil is gained from a small area of plants. This allows for a smaller environmental impact compared to other crops. Additionally, the Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund oversees the production of palm oil and ensures it does not negatively affect biodiversity where it is grown.
  6. Best practices
    The cultivation of Malaysian palm oil uses sustainable farming practices. These include integrated pest management and biomass, as well as avoiding deforestation.
  7. Development of new plantings
    As of 2017, Malaysia had 5.74 million hectares of palm oil plants. As new plants are introduced, Malaysia wants to ensure that it meets the standards that have been laid out for the already existing plantations.

As more palm oil plantations become MSPO-certified, the model of sustainable agriculture in Malaysia is one that other countries can base their own farming practices on. The positives of sustainable agriculture, especially relating to palm oil, benefit the farmers, the environment and even the consumer.

– Hayley Herzog

Photo: Flickr

development projects in malaysiaOne of the most vibrant economies in Southeast Asia, Malaysia consists of two regions separated by 640 miles of water. Though it is relatively peaceful, occasionally there is racial tension. To address issues of income inequality, several development projects in Malaysia are active.

Less than one percent of Malaysians live in extreme poverty. However, more than 40 percent of the population is impoverished. Compared to other Southeast Asian countries, income inequality is relatively high in Malaysia. Despite these issues, there are many projects that hope to fight this inequality issue. 

Below are short descriptions of five development projects in Malaysia.

Scatec Solar Project

Scatec Solar, a company in Malaysia, recently won a grant to construct a 40 MW plant. Located in northwest Malaysia, it expects to deliver 65 GWh of solar power and earn about $6 million a year. Construction is due to begin in 2018 and finish in 2019.

This is not Malaysia’s first solar plant grant win, which makes its renewable energy commitment evident. Furthermore, this continuous string of solar power growth shows a definitive market in Malaysia.

Program for Bornean Biodiversity and Ecosystems Conservation II

The Program for Bornean Biodiversity and Ecosystems Conservation was created by JICA in 2001. The project focused on the biodiversity and conservation of ecosystems in the Sabah region of Malaysia. It implemented the Sabah Biodiversity Centre (SaBC) and managed the river basins of the Kinabatangan and the Segama rivers. Further, it created state park activities in the Sabah region.

Development Projects in Malaysia: Green Cities

The Green Cities project is also known as the Sustainable Urban Management Support for Follow-up Activities in Melaka, Malaysia. It builds on previous Green Cities development projects in Malaysia implemented by the Asian Development Bank.

The original Green Cities projects focused on improving climate resilience in Malaysia. The plan addressed economic growth and sustainability in an urban environment.

Kota Kinabalu Composting Project

In 2008, the World Bank approved the Kota Kinabalu Composting Project. It created this project to avoid further methane and greenhouse gas pollution from a landfill in Telipok, Malaysia. By diverting waste to a sorting and compost plant, workers recover the recyclable parts of the waste and convert the biodegradable portion into a large-scale compost.

To fully reach its goal, the World Bank constructed a 500 tonne/day sorting plant. Although it has yet to reach completion, the goal is still possible in the coming few years.

Global Knowledge and Research Hub

In March 2016, the World Bank Group officially launched their Global Knowledge and Research Hub in Malaysia. Focused on Malaysia’s aims to become a high-income economy through sustainable and inclusive growth by 2020, it will support their economic plans, and share lessons with developing countries.

The first of its kind, this Hub will address skill shortages, help implement Malaysia’s SME plan, unlock the potential for Malaysia’s digital economy and many other plans.

By pursuing these development projects in Malaysia the nation will continue to grow. As a result, it will bring a larger percentage out of poverty and reach its national economic goals.

– Nick McGuire

Photo: Flickr

3 Areas of Growth For Infrastructure in Malaysia
Malaysia has made vast improvements over recent decades in its economic development. The emphasis the Malaysian government places on developing and upgrading its infrastructure has led to Malaysia becoming one of the most well-developed nations in Asia among newly industrialized countries. The government’s 11th Malaysia Plan, published in 2015, highlighted a development goal of transforming Malaysia into a fully developed nation by 2020.

The economical influx has clearly and drastically improved and strengthened infrastructure in Malaysia as there’s been steady improvement in poverty rates, a 55.3 percent reduction in those living below the poverty line as of 2014, and an increase in the number of the population working and employed.

Some of the major projects boosting infrastructure in Malaysia include:

1. Highways

As a link to major centers like seaports and airports, improving Malaysian highway systems means more efficient transportation of goods, which is vital to the country’s economy. The Asean Rail Express (ARX) has been initiated to become the Trans-Asia Rail Link that will connect Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, and end in Kunming, China.

The Pan Borneo highway is set to be completed by 2023, which will make driving 2,000 kilometers from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu, a populated and congested area, much easier for both the population and the transportation of goods.

2. Seaports

More than 90 percent of Malaysia’s trade is by sea. With the expansion of their economy and trade, seaports have been a key focus of improving infrastructure in Malaysia. Now, two of the seven international ports have been ranked among the top 20 container ports in the world. Port Klang is now the national load and transshipment center, having grown 5.5 percent in the number of goods passing through the port from 2016 to 2017.

3. Telecommunication

With its widespread application of modern technologies such as fiber optics, wireless transmission, digitalization and satellite services, Malaysia has built one of the more advanced telecom networks in the developing world. The mobile segment continues to dominate the market, while the fixed line market is in decline.

There has been progress on expanding mobile infrastructure in Malaysia to rural areas as well. Telephone subscribers in Malaysia can choose from five network service providers for a full range of local, domestic and international services under the Equal Access Regime. There are also six internet service providers and five telcos’s supporting a full range of domestic and international services.

With a national objective to see Malaysia ranked as a developed country by the year 2020, these developments in telecommunication, seaports, and highways show great progress for the nation and its people.

– Kailey Brennan

Photo: Flickr