(Xinhua News Agency correspondents in Kuala Lumpur Mao Pengfei and Wang Yi recently wrote on Malaysia’s MADANI governance concept)

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 (Xinhua) — On January 10 this year, Malaysia’s new landmark, the 678.9-meter-tall Merdeka 118 Tower, held its opening ceremony in Kuala Lumpur. The tower sets a new record for the tallest building in Southeast Asia and is the second tallest building in the world.

“Merdeka” means “independence” in Malay. The new landmark is considered a symbol of the “great moment” when Malaysia declared its independence, reflecting Malaysia’s prosperity in various fields and embodying the spirit of unity and progress within its multicultural society.

Between 2018 and 2022, Malaysia’s economic development slowed down due to political instability and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. After the general election in November 2022, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was appointed as the new Prime Minister forming a unity government.

At the beginning of its establishment, the unity government launched the “Prosperous Malaysia” or the MADANI governance concept based on six principles: sustainability, prosperity, innovation, respect, trust, and care, aiming to maintain social unity, improve the standard of living for the people, enhance the business environment, and lead Malaysia towards a prosperous society.

With the launch of new projects and plans in photovoltaic manufacturing, new energy vehicles, artificial intelligence, and other areas, Anwar recently stated that the government is committed to making Malaysia a major regional destination for green investments, promoting investments into high-growth and high-value industries.

In line with the global digital wave, the Malaysian government is also vigorously promoting the development of the digital economy, creating new economic growth points. In August 2023, the opening ceremony for the first phase of the Vantage Data Centers in Johor’s Nusajaya Tech Park in Malaysia was held. The first phase includes three standalone data center buildings, with the total IT capacity already fully reserved.

The development opportunities of Malaysia’s digital economy have attracted companies from China, the United States, Japan, and other countries, as well as local enterprises. Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), a Malaysian company, has built the country’s first solar-powered data center in Johor, which is expected to become operational this year.

“We will fully tap into the limitless potential brought about by digital transformation. We believe that these initiatives will support the country in achieving goals such as digital innovation, sustainable development, and economic growth,” said Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul Aziz, the Malaysian Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry.

Facing various challenges, Malaysia is exploring its own path to future development. Independence and autonomy have become key words in its revitalization and development.

Since the U.S Federal Reserve started raising interest rates in 2022, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries, being outward-oriented economies, have been under pressure. Anwar, who also serves as the Finance Minister, stated that the frequent interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve were the main reason for the continued depreciation of the Malaysian Ringgit. The Central Bank of Malaysia is studying “de-dollarization” to increase the use of the local currency in trade.

Currently, the global economy faces adverse factors such as a debt crisis, inflation, high interest rates, and sluggish trade, posing many challenges to the Malaysian government’s goals of achieving economic growth and enhancing national competitiveness. On the first anniversary of his administration, Anwar emphasized that the government would be more determined and swift in promoting economic development and enhancing the welfare of the people.

Datuk Abdul Majid Ahmad Khan, who once served as the chairman of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, wrote in a media article: “The Chinese model of modernization powerfully demonstrates that different societies can develop different paths and forms of modernization. Malaysia is open to learning from different development models. Only by recognizing and embracing multiple models of modernization can we achieve a more comprehensive mutual understanding, thereby realizing the harmonious coexistence of world civilizations.”


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