ECRL would be the proverbial millstone around the Federal gov’t’s neck. It goes through godforsaken country.
Only the west coast of Malaya is the circulation corridor between southeast India and further west and south China and further east.
The east coast of Sumatra failed to take off as a circulation corridor because Indians and Chinese, for thousands of years, flocked to the west coast of Malaya.
That’s why Parameswara left Palembang in Sumatra and moved to Malacca.
The west coast has thrown up huge pockets of urban economies, which thrived as well on the supply of labour to the hinterlands and supplying goods and services to the labour pools. The British colonialists too turned to India, China and the Archipelago for labour. The Orang Asli, the indigenous people, stayed in the jungles.
The urban economies have drawn huge investments and created many business opportunities.
The real wealth of Malaya derives from the west coast being the circulation corridor between southeast India and further west and south China and further east.
Sarawak is in the backwaters i.e. off the beaten track.
Kuching can continue to survive by linking up even more with Singapore and encouraging domestic tourism, group tours and chartered flights.
Miri has to look to BSB and the west coast of Sabah to form the proverbial golden heart of Borneo in urban economies.
Labuan will always be a failure. It was abandoned by Brunei, the British and Sabah. It’s a burden on Putrajaya.
North Borneo, like Singapore and Bangkok, is a geographical hub.
Jakarta could not compete with Singapore.
If the new Indonesian capital is along the coast in east Kalimantan, it will try to compete with North Borneo as a geographical hub linking north Asia and the eastern Pacific with the Philippines and Australia/New Zealand.
North Borneo is also a link to Singapore and Bangkok to points further west.
The economy of Indonesia will probably gravitate towards the new Jakarta.
If it doesn’t, the new Jakarta will be a failure like Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Brasilia and Canberra, among others.