Malaysia’s ranking improved three notches to 12th, among 60 countries, in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2014, its best performance in four years, says International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

The jump is a testimony of growing confidence in the government’s various initiatives to transform the economy into that of a high-income nation by 2020.

Last year, Malaysia was ranked 15th by the Swiss-based Institute for Management Development.

Mustapa said the report reflected measures Malaysia had undertaken under the Government Transformation and Economic Transformation Programmes.

“We will continue to strengthen our global competitiveness through efforts targeted at enhancing Malaysia’s investment environment and promoting policies that would increase trade, harness talents to achieve higher productivity growth, intensify efforts to reduce regulatory burden, as well as, strengthen the country’s technological capabilities.

“We are also committed in implementing and executing a sustainable economic policy in ensuring a more prosperous and developed Malaysia as opposed to short-term, populist shortcuts that will have negative consequences in the long-run,” he said in a statement today.

Mustapa said, with all these efforts, Malaysia could see a much better performance in the next three to five years as all its initiatives begin to bear fruit.

The 12th spot or 82.09 score (out of 100) has put Malaysia among the top 15 most competitive nation that included the United States, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sweden, Germany and Canada.

It also continued to be ahead of United Kingdom which was ranked 16th, Australia (17th), Finland (18th), New Zealand (20th), Japan (21st) and Korea (26th).

The World Competitiveness Yearbook assessed countries based on economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure.

On government efficiency, Mustapa said although Malaysia maintained its 15th position, the government was committed to further strengthening the country’s public finances, ensure fiscal sustainability and promote the country’s long-term macroeconomic stability.

“The setting up of the Fiscal Policy Committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, reflects Malaysia’s commitment to achieve a fiscal deficit of 3% of Gross Domestic Product by 2015 and work towards a balanced budget by 2020.

“Among the initiatives undertaken by the government is the implementation of phased rationalisation of subsidies and ensure a more targeted approach in providing financial assistance to those in need.

“We also believe that the improvements in rankings are directly linked to the upward trend of Malaysia’s global rankings in the Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014 to 24th position and World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report 2014 where Malaysia is ranked number six worldwide,” Mustapa added.

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