Malaysia: Top 15 in competitiveness

Malaysia retained its ranking among the top 15 nations in the latest World Competitiveness Yearbook 2015 (WCY) compiled by the Institute for Management Development (IMD), based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, in a statement yesterday, said the report ranked Malaysia 14th among 61 countries – ahead of countries such as the Netherlands (15), Ireland (16), New Zealand (17), Australia (18), the United Kingdom (19), Finland (20), Korea (25) and Japan (27).

“We were ranked 14th (from 12th previously), in a group that includes the United States, Singapore, Switzerland, Canada, Norway, Luxembourg, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, together with Hong Kong and Taiwan,” he said.

Although Malaysia’s ranking declined by two positions in the latest report, he said, being placed in the top 15 globally among the most competitive nations indicates the country’s economic resilience and competitiveness.

“Continuing fiscal reforms, initiatives to control the rising cost of living, diversification of the economy, upskilling of capabilities and expertise, review of the education system, reforming and modernising the tax system through GST will enable Malaysia to remain globally competitive,” Mustapa said.

The WCY listed Malaysia as first among 30 economies with gross domestic product (GDP) per capita less than US$20,000, retaining its previous position.

Among 28 countries with populations above 20 million, Malaysia was ranked 5th. In Asean, Malaysia remains in second position, and is ranked fourth among the 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Mustapa added that Malaysia’s achievement was all the more notable given the current global economic environment and testified to the efficacy of the policies and processes implemented under the Government Transformation Programme and the Economic Transformation Programme.

“We are totally focused on increasing productivity, encouraging innovation and facilitating the ease of doing business. These are the factors that can help sustain Malaysia’s economic performance in our aspiration to become a high-income economy by 2020."

The WCY 2015 assessed countries based on four competitiveness factors - economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure.

Among the four factors, Malaysia recorded improvement in the economic performance indicator, moving three positions up to sixth from ninth in 2014.

This is supported by the significant improvements recorded under the domestic economy, 15th (2014: 19th) and employment, 7th (2014: 12th) sub-factors, as well as sustaining top ten positions in Prices, 3rd (2014: 3rd) and international investment, 8th (2014: 7th).

Dato’ Sri Mustapa added that this year’s WCY shows that Business Efficiency is a critical determining factor in enhancing competitiveness. “As emphasized by IMD, business efficiency requires greater productivity and the competitiveness of countries is greatly linked to the ability of enterprises to remain profitable over time. Increasing productivity remains a fundamental challenge for all countries,” he said.

 /theSUN 28-08-2015

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