KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 – Malaysia has retained its second spot among Asean countries in the Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013.
The report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), based in Geneva, Switzerland, ranked the country eighth among 22 Asia Pacific countries ahead of China, India and other Asean countries except Singapore, and placed it among the top 20 per cent of the most competitive countries globally.
The report was presented to the media here today by Malaysia Productivity Corp Senior Director of Global Competitiveness, Lee Saw Hoon.
WEF has acknowledged Malaysia’s efforts to move up the value chain and upgraded the country’s stage of development to “transition towards innovation-driven” from “efficiency-driven” previously.
“This upgrade was accorded as Malaysia’s gross domestic product per capita has increased to US$9,700 from US$8,423 previously,” Lee said.
She said at this new stage of development, more weightage will be put on innovation and sophistication factors in the computation of Malaysia’s competitiveness index.
This means that Malaysia has to increasingly focus on both non-technological and technological innovations to further enhance its competitiveness.
The report said although Malaysia has maintained its score of 5.1, it has dropped four rungs to 25th position out of 144 countries surveyed, from 21st spot out of 142 countries in 2011-2012.
WEF said the country’s most notable advantages are its efficient and competitive market for goods and services, its remarkably supportive financial sector, and its business-friendly institutional framework.
“In a region where many countries suffer from lack of transparency and the presence of red tape, Malaysia stands out as particularly successful at tackling those two issues,” it said, adding much remains to be done to put the country on a more solid growth path.
“Its low level of technology readiness (ranked 51st), is surprising, especially given its achievements in other areas of innovation and business sophistication and the country’s focus on promoting the use of information and communications technology.
“Lack of progress in this area will significantly undermine Malaysia’s effort to become a knowledge-based economy by the end of the decade,” it added.
Meanwhile in a statement today, Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa said the report put Malaysia in the top ten among the 144 countries covered in many areas, including in the legal rights index (ranked first), pay and productivity (third), government services for improved business performance (fourth) and strength of investor protection (fourth).
Malaysia also did well in government regulation and ease of access to loans (eighth); financing through local equity market (ninth); and business impact of rules on foreign direct investments, as well as efficiency of legal framework in challenging regulations (10th).
“Continuous efforts will be undertaken to identify areas for improvement and to implement initiatives to ensure a smooth progression towards an innovation-driven, high-income economy,” Mustapa said.