The experience of growth zones in South-East Asia : Indonesia-Malaysia-Singapore

TitleThe experience of growth zones in South-East Asia : Indonesia-Malaysia-Singapore
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsThan M
JournalAsia-Pacific development journal
Date Published13-11-01
Call NumberTA 5961
KeywordsDevelopment Policy, economic cooperation, Economics, Excerpta Indonesica, growth models, INDONESIA, MALAYSIA, Regional Development, SINGAPORE

The Indonesia-Malaysia Singapore growth triangle is part of ASEAN's strategy to expand economic co-operation and integration. It initially encompassed Singapore, Johor (southern Malaysia) and Batam (Riau, Indonesia). West Sumatra, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, and Southern Pahang were added to the triangle in 1996, followed a year later by Jambi, Bengkulu, Southern Sumatra, Lampung, and West Kalimantan. The Indonesia-Malaysia Singapore growth triangle has turned out to be the most successful subregional arrangement of this type in the region. A number of key factors have contributed to this success. The participating areas are contiguous and easily accessible; there is complementarity in resource endowment, labour, technology, and capital among the participating regions. There exists a well-developed infrastructure, particularly in Singapore. And most importantly, there has been a commitment at the highest level to make the growth triangle a success. The author also points out some potential problems connected with growth triangles. First, there may be concern among less developed countries of being economically dominated by more developed states. Problems might also rise from large-scale foreign investment, industrialization, and urbanization, which may give rise to social, environmental and infrastructural problems. Internally, the growth triangle arrangement may cause conflicts of interest due to the nature of the relationship between periphery and centre. The central or federal government should take fiscal and other necessary measures to ensure the equitable allocation of resources between the growth triangle and other subnational regions. Finally it is important to note that growth triangles do not offer an unqualified recipe for success. The future prospects of the Indonesia-Malaysia-Singapore growth triangle will ultimately depend on the political will at both the national and regional levels to make it work.