In the past 30 years, Malaysia has successfully curtailed high poverty rates and reduced income inequalities. Its goal is to attain high income status by 2020 while ensuring that growth is sustainable.
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Malaysia Economic Monitor: Transforming Urban TransportIntegrated, local-level planning can reduce high costs of congestion and transform urban transport in Malaysia, World Bank says ... Show More + KUALA LUMPUR, June 16, 2015 --- Malaysia’s economy is projected to expand by 4.7 percent in 2015 and 5.0 percent in 2016. The outlook reflects the overall strength of Malaysia’s domestic economy amid ongoing fiscal consolidation, lower commodity prices and weak global trade, a new World Bank report notes. Risks are significant, however, considering the possibility of new declines in commodity prices and volatile capital flows.Enhancing resilience to external shocks and maintaining the pace of growth requires continued structural reforms to unlock productivity gains. The Malaysia Economic Monitor, launched today, makes the case that improved urban transportation is essential to reduce the high costs of traffic congestion and to ensure urbanization remains a positive force in Malaysia’s transformation into a high-income, inclusive and sustainable economy.“Urbanization has given more Malaysians economic opportunities and has helped generate good jobs, raise incomes, and reduce poverty,” says Ulrich Zachau, World Bank Country Director for Malaysia. “Yet, urbanization has also brought urban sprawl and congestion. People lose time and businesses lose money from delays. Malaysia can now invest in smart urban transport solutions, which will make cities more productive and livable across Malaysia.”To transform the planning and delivery of urban transport, Malaysia may consider prioritizing the following reforms: (a) Establish lead transport agencies at the metropolitan level to spearhead integrated approaches towards the planning and delivery of both public and private urban transport; (b) Identify and implement sustainable financing mechanisms; and (c) align public transport with incentives to discourage the use of private transport in congested areas, as London, Singapore and other major world cities have done successfully. Introducing congestion charges, user fees and gasoline taxes would not only result in environmental gains but could also trim the fiscal deficit by as much as RM19 billion. Show Less -
Key FindingsMalaysia’s growth is projected to maintain a healthy pace.Malaysia’s economic growth projection: 4.7% (2015) and 5% (2016).Malaysia’s exports, including the long-embattled E&E (electro... Show More +nics/electrical) sector, showed signs of recovery in 2014 (up 5.2%), but slowed in early 2015.Private consumption is expected to moderate to a still-robust 5.9% (2015) before rebounding to 6.4% (2016) as consumers adjust to the Goods and Services Tax (GST).The introduction of GST and elimination of fuel subsidies has helped Malaysia weather the oil price shock, but further reforms are required to ensure medium-term fiscal targets are met.Congestion threatens to dampen the benefits of urbanizationRapid urbanization boosted productivity and access to economic opportunity, helping raise incomes and reduce poverty.But urban sprawl, high motorization rates and inadequate public transport led to congestion and low usage of public transport.Only 17% of commuters in Kuala Lumpur use public transport compared to 62% in Singapore and 89% in Hong Kong.Residents of Greater Kuala Lumpur spend more than 250 million hours a year stuck in traffic.The total cost of traffic in Greater Kuala Lumpur is estimated at 1.1 - 2.2% of GDP in 2014.The lack of unified planning is a key obstacle to the delivery of efficient urban transportCurrent planning and delivery practices for urban transport are still not sufficiently robust to handle the underlying complexity of Malaysia’s cities as they are scattered across a number of different entities.Malaysia’s urban transport system can address these challenges more robustly by establishing metropolitan-level lead agenciesLead urban transport agencies at the metropolitan level would oversee integrated planning, maintenance and service delivery of all modes of urban transport.The introduction of new financial instruments such as taxes, user charges and fees can help finance a lead transport agency with the right mandate sustainably.Policies to promote the use of public transport should be aligned with policies that discourage car use in congested areas. Show Less -
WASHINGTON, JUNE 11, 2015— The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors approved an US$121 million credit and grant to support the Sahel Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases Project, which a... Show More +ims to increase access to community-level health services to prevent and treat cases of malaria and neglected tropical diseases. The project will be implemented in three countries in the Sahel region − Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger − and will benefit an estimated 3.7 million people.Africa’s Sahel region is home to more than 80 million people, and a large proportion of the population lives more than five kilometers from a health center. Although illness from the major neglected tropical diseases can be found across Sub-Saharan Africa, the burden is heavily concentrated in the Sahel, and four of the most debilitating tropical diseases are strongly associated with the climatic environment of the Sahel. An estimated 88 percent of trachoma cases in Africa are in the Sahel, as are 59 percent of lymphatic filariasis cases, 50 percent of schistosomiasis cases, and 49 percent of onchocerciasis cases.Countries in the Sahel also bear a disproportionate burden of malaria which is the primary cause of death in young children and primary reason for outpatient visits to health centers and hospitalization. “The control and elimination of malaria and neglected tropical diseases is a regional public good as these diseases don’t respect national boundaries,” says Colin Bruce, World Bank Director of Regional Integration for the Africa Region. “By supporting regional collective actions, this project will enhance disease control strategies to eliminate and reduce the spread of malaria and neglected tropical disease along international borders in endemic areas, helping to boost livelihoods for the millions of families in Africa’s Sahel region.” The Sahel Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases Project will focus on scaling up disease control interventions at the community level in cross-border areas in the three countries. Other countries may join during project implementation. For malaria this includes community-based diagnosis and treatment and seasonal malaria chemoprevention for young children. For NTDs this includes integrated treatment of five preventable NTD through mass drug administration one to two time per year, and treatment of the reversible consequences of NTDs (trichiasis and hydrocele) in mobile surgical camps staffed by doctors and nurses from all three countries. .The project will support countries’ efforts to harmonize policies and procedures, and countries will be empowered to engage in joint planning, implementation and evaluation of program activities across borders at regional, national and district levels. By considering activities that can only be achieved through multi-country collaboration, priority will be placed on controlling and preventing cross-border spread of communicable disease; targeted research and development; and standardized data collection efforts. Activities to boost collaboration among countries include promoting resource sharing and pooled procurement of difficult to access commodities. Other actions will aim to strengthen institutional capacity to coordinate and monitor implementation.“A regional integration approach to combatting malaria and neglected tropical diseases, which is the foundation of this project, makes sense epidemiologically, economically, geographically, ecologically and programmatically,” says John Paul Clark, World Bank Task Team Leader for this Project.“Addressing these diseases will contribute to substantial improvements in health among the largely poor population in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger and lead to sizeable economic benefits in the entire Sahel region,” says Haidara Ousmane Diadie, World Bank Task Team Co-Leader for this Project.The West African Health Organization (WAHO, part of Economic Community of the West African States, or ECOWAS) will be responsible for the regional coordination and day-to-day oversight of the project. The US$121 million credit and grant from the International Development Association (IDA)* includes a US$37 million credit each to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. ECOWAS will receive a US$10 million grant.“By focusing on community-based interventions, the project will provide an opportunity to improve the quality and efficiency of community-health delivery platforms where most of the poor rural families in the Sahel go for health services,” says Andy Tembon, World Bank Task Team Co-Leader for this Project. Show Less -