Friday September 10, 2010

Malaysia slips in global competitiveness ranking

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s global competitiveness ranking continued to be on a declining trend, slipping two notches down to 26th spot out of 139 countries, according to World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report for 2010-2011 released yesterday.

This compared with the country’s ranking on the 24th rung out of 133 countries for 2009-2010, and 21st out of 134 countries for 2008-2009.

But while Malaysia’s ranking has deteriorated, the country managed to maintain its overall competitiveness score for 2010-2011, with a marginal improvement to 4.88 out of the maximum score of 7, compared with 4.87 in the preceding period.

“We acknowledge there are a number of areas for improvement,” International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said in a statement.

“There are also some good suggestions coming from the report on areas that we need to improve,” he added.

The WEF report noted that the areas affecting Malaysia’s performance were in the four main pillars of higher education and training (ranked 49th compared with 41st previously), institutions (ranked 42nd compared with 43rd previously), technological readiness (ranked 40th compared with 37th previously) and labour market efficiency (ranked 35th compared with 31st previously).

“The Government has already launched nationwide initiatives on tackling these issues,” Mustapa said.

Among the proactive measures undertaken by the Government to enhance Malaysia’s competitiveness were the New Economic Model, Government Transformation Programme and Economic Transformation Programme as well as the various initiatives under the 10th Malaysia Plan.

“As these initiatives begin to take effect, we can expect to see improvements in Malaysia’s overall competitiveness in the near future,” Mustapa said

“Nevertheless, we are happy that the WEF’s report has highlighted a number of positive elements about the Malaysian economy,” he added.

For instance, the country is being assessed as having a well-developed financial market development with ease of financing through local equity (ranked 11th compared with 15th previously) and ease of access to loans (ranked 10th compared with 13th previously).

Malaysia also scored highest in the Legal Rights Index, together with Hong Kong and Singapore. It also scored high on the Strength of Investor Protection, ranking 4th after New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Among the Asia-Pacific countries, Malaysia ranked the 8th most competitive economy, ahead of China, Thailand, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. Globally, Switzerland remained the top most competitive economy, followed by Sweden, Singapore, United States, Germany, Japan, Finland, Netherlands, Denmark and Canada.

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