SINGAPORE, Sept 5 (Bernama) — Malaysia has sought to revive the Indonesia-Malaysia-Singapore Growth Triangle (IMS-GT) to tap on the region’s enormous economic opportunities and complementarities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said.
He said the IMS-GT would enable many issues to be ironed out together through improved connectivity, flow of goods and investments.
“We are certainly putting forward this proposal. We will discuss with relevant people… and see what we can do.
“Certainly, the growth triangle is a very important part of the world,” he told BERNAMA on the sidelines of the Malaysia-Singapore Business Forum at the Raffles City Convention Centre, Thursday.
Asked how soon the proposal will come to fruition, Mustapa said he needs to discuss the matter further with the Economic Planning Unit.
He said as there had been lackadaisical attempts to revive the triangle before, there is a need for an action plan to reactivate it.
“It’s an important subset in the ASEAN integration. If the growth triangle does well, of course, ASEAN will prosper,” he said.
Mustapa said Malaysia has been committed in the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) and the East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) which have contributed significantly to the growth of the region.
The idea of having a growth triangle among Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia was mooted in 1989 by naming it SIJORI (Singapore-Johor-Riau) before it was formalised as the Indonesia-Malaysia-Singapore Growth Triangle (IMS-GT) in 1994.
However, the IMS-GT dissipated in early 2000s.
On the business community’s response towards the impending ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), Mustapa said there are still sceptical over the prospects, especially over non-tariff barriers as well as movements of goods and people.
“They’ve said we’ve not done enough. The feedback that we’ve got is almost unanimous everywhere we go. Of course, there are things that we can do within a year and there are things that we can’t do within a year. For example, free flow of people, that’s not possible,” he said.
He said there is also a need to respect ASEAN member countries’ sovereignty and policies.
Singapore Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang and Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore Datuk Husni Zai Yaacob were present.