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Leveraging on the strength of OBOR

  • The epoch-making initiative is brimming with possibilities and hopes. Photo courtesy; AFP

Sin Chew Daily

The Belt and Road Forum has come to a close, and China has sealed a series of partnerships with governments and corporations of countries along the Belt and Road encompassing closer cooperation in policies, infrastructure, trade, financing and people-to-people interactions.

Beijing's "One Belt, One Road" initiative has been designed to establish a platform for win-win cooperation among the nations in mapping out a new development roadmap that will spearhead the existing global politico-economic order towards greater equality and rationality.

Most of the countries along OBOR are developing states that are poised to benefit tremendously from the capital, technology, infrastructure and personnel input of the initiative and AIIB. This will smash the dilemma of developing countries suffering from exploitation by developed states as a consequence of globalized trade and inequilibrium in development.

Take Malaysia for example, as a trusted strategic partner of China, we have jumped on the OBOR bandwagon to emerge as the first and truly significant beneficiary of this ambitious initiative.

During PM Najib's visit to China, the two countries signed a total of US$7.22 billion worth of investment MOUs.

OBOR needs to tackle the universal problems and challenges faced by the world, including sluggish economy growth, wealth distribution inequality, aggravated social turmoil, etc. To deliver itself out of the current doldrums, it is imperative that China explore a new development model from a different perspective, and OBOR is the answer!

China is well aware of the fact that it needs to venture out of the existing globalized capital modus operandi to secure breakthrough achievements.

The lackluster performance of China's conventional economic sectors in recent years has raised the concerns of markets. That said, a paradigm shift is beginning to show up in the country, and this is specifically manifested in its breakneck progress in digital economy and trade.

China has successfully harnessed its technological advancement to standardize operations and big data in creating a ground-breaking economic model which it desires to promote to the rest of the world, in hope of creating a more rational and equitable power and wealth sharing structure towards greater prosperity and peace through capital input and the institution of infrastructural projects.

President Xi Jinping has stressed peaceful cooperation, accommodativeness, mutual learning and mutual benefit in a bid to engage European countries in AIIB. Washington, meanwhile, has also softened its erstwhile resistant stance to join OBOR. This shows that the epoch-making initiative is indeed brimming with possibilities and hopes.

Nevertheless, doing business with China in a tactful manner remains a big lesson we need to learn. Take Malaysia for instance, while we are strategically positioned to gain from such an initiative, there are still gaps between our two countries in the areas of legal framework, humanity structure and corporate philosophies, among other things. It will take some time and effort for us to close the gaps.

We should not visualize China's input and investments in various sectors from its outward performances and statistics alone. We must more than ever contemplate the nature of China's politico-economic development so as to refrain from reacting in an irrational fashion.


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