PERTH, Australia: Governments facing economic woes must resist the temptation to slash infrastructure spending or they risk hobbling long-term growth, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.
Instead, officials should bring private-sector partners into public spending projects, he said, adding that short-term budget cuts aimed at balancing the books were not the best way to deal with economic difficulties.
“Many economies, including Western powerhouses, are struggling with enormous fiscal deficits that need to be tackled,” he told a Commonwealth business forum in the Australian city of Perth.
“In such an environment, it can be all too easy to see long-term infrastructure development as something to be cut in order to balance short-term budgets.
“But such thinking is short-termist, as properly managed development of sustainable infrastructure is the only way to ensure sustainable long-term economic growth.”
Najib said Malaysia was practising what it preached, setting up a US$6-billion fund to encourage private-public sector partnerships, including a mass-transit system for Kuala Lumpur.
Source : AFP