KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has continued to improve on its competitiveness on the global stage, climbing four places to 20th out of 144 countries in the world from the previous year’s 24th placing among 148 economies.
In a statement on Sept 03 (Wednesday), International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said Malaysia continued its upward trend, making it among the top 20 most competitive economies in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) for 2014 to 2015.
He said Malaysia remained the highest ranked among developing Asian economies and was ranked the second most competitive economy among the 24 countries that the WEF had categorised in the transition stage, from an efficiency-driven to innovation stage of development.
Mustapa said with an enhanced competitiveness performance, Malaysia (20th) was ahead of developed economies such as Austria (21st), Australia (22nd), France (23rd), Ireland (25th) and South Korea (26th).
He said among Asia-Pacific countries, Malaysia improved to sixth position out of 28 countries from seventh in 2013, after Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and New Zealand. Malaysia is ahead of Australia (seventh), South Korea (eighth), China (ninth) and India (16th), he said.
The GCR is an annual report based on the Global Competitiveness Index that integrates both macro- and microeconomic aspects of competitiveness. It uses 70% perception data, obtained through an executive opinion survey from high level private sector executives, and 30% statistical data.
The report comprises 114 criteria, which are organised into 12 pillars of competitiveness. They are institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation.
Mustapa said the WEF highlighted that Malaysia’s biggest improvement was in the institutions pillar, advancing by nine positions from 29th to 20th.
“This is evident from the positive responses from the business sector, as reflected in the significantly improved perception-based indicators related to safety and security, as well as corruption, thus, contributing to the enhanced performance of the institutions pillar.
“Elsewhere, Malaysia ranks an outstanding fourth in the financial market development pillar, reflecting its efforts to position itself as the leading centre of global Islamic finance,” he said.
Malaysia, meanwhile, was ranked 11th in terms of the quality of its transport infrastructure, which reflected a marked improvement in the nation’s infrastructure and connectivity.
The WEF also highlighted that amid the largely positive assessment, Malaysia has much to improve in areas of female participation in the workforce (119th); government budget balance (102nd); international Internet bandwidth (81st); and technological readiness (60th).
For the sixth consecutive year, Switzerland led the top 10, followed by Singapore, the US, Finland, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the UK and Sweden.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on Sept 04, 2014.