Malaysia moves up 2 spots in global competitiveness report

MALAYSIA edged up two places to rank 23 out of the 157 countries in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, compared with its placing at 25 out of 140 countries last year.

Malaysia, which remained in the top 25, also retained its second spot out of the nine Asean countries (Myanmar is not included in the report), and placed nine in the Apec and Asean community category.

While hailing the results of the report as a positive development, director-general of Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) Mohd Razali Hussain said collaboration between the public and private sector was still lacking.

“We have to encourage the private sector to get involved in making the improvements,” said Razali.

He said collaboration between the two sectors was possible with Pemudah, a special task force that addresses bureaucracy and facilitates business and government dealings. The task force also monitors productivity in different sectors.

He said with the economic initiatives in place, the country will be able to breach the top 20 by 2020.

“The collaboration between public and private sectors is key. If we can do that, I will be more optimistic about things and can reach the target before 2020.”

In a statement released by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Minister Mustapa Mohamed said the latest ranking affirmed the strength of the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals and that Malaysia’s policies are on the right track.

“Our exports are doing well and we continue to receive healthy flows of foreign direct investments.

“We will continue to adopt sound economic policies and we hope to do well in our rankings with continuous improvements in soft and hard infrastructure,” said Mustapa.

Switzerland remained the most competitive country in the world, while Singapore slipped a notch lower to third place.

The United States, which ranked third last year, has taken over the second spot in terms of competitiveness. All the countries ranked above Malaysia are developed and are of high income.

The annual WEF report is based on 30% hard data and 70% survey data. It combines 114 indicators that integrate both macro and microeconomic aspects of competitiveness.

The indicators which are grouped into 12 competitive pillars are institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiently, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation.

The 12 pillars of competitiveness are divided under three sub-indexes into basic requirements, efficiency enhances as well as innovation and sophistication features used to determine a country’s placement.

Malaysia ranked among the top 50 in each of the 12 pillars and declined in six. Malaysia performed strongly in financial market development (16th) and made most improvement in health and primary education pillar by advancing 14 positions to 30th from 44th last year.Malaysia also ranked top 10 in 10 indicators namely inflation, strength of investor protection, government procurement of advanced technology products, burden of government regulation, pay and productivity, agriculture policy costs, availability of scientists and engineers, extent of staff training, venture capital availability and extent of marketing.The report also pointed out that three main challenges for the global economy are financial sector vulnerability, ability to spread benefits of innovation more inclusively and labour market flexibility and workers’ rights. – September 27, 2017.

Source: The Malaysian Insight