KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is the 12th most competitive economy in the world for doing business, according to the 2013 edition of The World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ report.
The ranking places Malaysia ahead of economies like Sweden (13th), Taiwan (16th), Germany (20th), Japan (24th) and Switzerland (28th).
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said in a statement that Malaysia’s new ranking is a significant improvement over last year’s 18th position and 23rd in 2010, continuing a trend of improving competitiveness which began four years ago.
“This year’s climb by six notches to 12th spot represents the country’s largest leap in competitiveness ranking in recent years,” he added.
The World Bank report surveyed 185 economies across competitive criteria such as ease of starting a business, getting licensing approvals, efficiency of tax administration and ease of trading across borders.
Malaysia improved its competitiveness in five areas of business, namely getting electricity (from 59th to 28th), registering property (59th to 33rd), paying taxes (41st to 15th), trading across borders (29th to 11th) and dealing with construction permits (113th to 96th).
The World Bank ranked Malaysia fourth globally in the category of ‘protecting investors’ and first together with South Africa and the United Kingdom in the category of ‘ease of getting credit’.
The World Bank acknowledged that Malaysia is among the top ten reformers within the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) region to have made the most progress towards the frontier of regulatory practices.
“Malaysia welcomes the World Bank’s findings.
“It affirms Malaysia’s competitiveness as an economy, and reflects the successful implementation by the government to improve the business environment and make it conducive for sustained economic growth,” Mustapa said.
The World Bank also recognised the government’s reform agenda, driven by the Special Taskforce to Facilitate Business (Pemudah) and the Performance Management Delivery Unit (Pemandu).
Mustapa said this is a reflection of continuous improvement in the delivery of public services and the overall efficiency of the government machinery through the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and the Government Transformation Program (GTP).
He said the government is committed to the strategic reform initiatives to make Malaysia the most competitive in the world.
“Our objective is to achieve a top 10 position in the World Bank’s rankings.
Getting there will strengthen our position as a destination of choice for local and foreign investors,” the minister said.
Doing Business 2013 is the 10th edition in a series of annual reports and a co-publication of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation.
The report seeks to measure business regulations for domestic firms objectively by focusing on well-defined transactions, laws and institutions rather than generic, perception-based questions on the business environment.
It presents quantitative indicators on the regulations that apply to firms at different stages of their life cycle.
This year’s report covers 11 areas and the 185 economies compared to 183 in 2012 with two new entrants, Barbados and Malta.
In the Asean region, Malaysia is ranked second after Singapore but ahead of Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brunei, the Philippines, Cambodia and Laos.
Mustapa gave an assurance that Pemudah will continue to undertake initiatives to improve the business environment.
These include the business process re-engineering in various licensing processes and procedures, implementation of web-based e-payment facilities for online payments nationwide and fine tuning the one-stop centre approval processes for building plans.
“Indeed, Pemudah, will continue to leverage on public-private sector engagement and collaboration to provide input for other relevant policy issues that impact not only the business environment but also citizenry and national development goals,” Mustapa said.
Moving forward, he said challenges undoubtedly remained for Malaysia in its quest to be among the top ten nations in the ease of doing business and a high-income economy.
“This is with new competitors constantly emerging and economic uncertainties globally.
“It is apparent that more needs to be done in the shortest time possible if we are to stay ahead.
Pemudah will continue to be a catalyst to bring about change to enhance Malaysia’s competitiveness,” he added.
Mustapa said the public-private sector collaboration will be directed at finding more ways to provide a conducive and facilitative business environment, regulatory review to facilitate business on regulatory changes and new regulations, ensure greater transparency, accountability and efficiency of the public sector, promote services liberalisation, develop, attract and retain talent and improve the service level of the private sector.