Felda has a new building in downtown Kuala Lumpur. It is a pretty slick building. Whatever that says about the construction industry, I do not think it says anything too good enough private sector-led economy. Unscientific yes but the skyline of Kuala Lumpur says a lot about how supposedly private sector-led economy Malaysia is, given that Kuala Lumpur is the economic center of the country.

Take a look at the skyline of Kuala Lumpur from a far. Apart from Felda, there are PNB, Tabung Haji and the Petronas Twin Towers. From where I live, these four buildings dominate the skyline. And then you can have CIMB and Maybank too. How about Telekom Malaysia? KL Tower? These do not include non-business related buildings like City Hall, BNM and EPF (while non-business, the EPF does influence the Malaysian equity market in a big way). How about the most political of it all, the UMNO building?  Not government, but for better or for worse, UMNO has a hand in it.

Warisan Merdeka will take it place in some years to come, yet another building to dominate the skyline like how the Petronas Twin Towers do.

These buildings symbolize what the Malaysia economy really is: government-driven.

One might argue that there are many more private buildings that government and government-linked companies buildings around. True that but that does not mean the buildings of the latter do not dominate still.

The sense of a government-led economy would have been more profound if the federal government had not move to Putrajaya more than a decade ago. But that is all symbolism. It does not change the fact that the government has a considerable say in the economy. Too big a say.

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