PEMANDU must explain fall in global competitiveness, says DAP
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 — PEMANDU must explain why the various transformation programmes under its purview has not only failed to improve Malaysia’s ranking among the world's most competitive countries but also saw Malaysia’s ranking fall, said DAP election strategist Ong Kian Ming today.
This comes after Malaysia fell four spots to 25th in the World Economic Forum (WEF)'s Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) from 21 last year and now ranks even lower than in 2008 – before the launch of the transformation programmes – when it came in at 21st place.
Ong noted that PEMANDU had previously used the findings from the rankings to show that the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) was yielding positive fruit and mentioned in its 2012 annual report that Malaysia’s ranking improved from 26 in 2010 to 21 in 2010.
“Is the fall in WEF's ranking signs that the ETP and GTP is not working?” said Ong.
He noted that Malaysia's score fell from 5.08 in 2011 to 5.06 this year and the country was overtaken by the UAE, New Zealand, Korea and Luxembourg.
Malaysia experienced a fall in ranking in 77 indicators compared to a rise in its ranking in only 48 indicators while rankings in the remaining 23 indicators remaining unchanged.
Ong said that while PEMANDU should be given some credit for the indicators which have improved, there were far more where Malaysia's ranking had fallen and which come under the economic and government transformation programmes.
Among these were: “Business Costs of crime and violence” indicator under the Reducing Crime NKRA which fell 63 to 69, “Macroeconomic environment” which fell 35 to 26, “Government’s Budget Balance position” under the Public Finance
Reform Strategic Reform Initiative (SRI) which fell 96 to 110 and “Intensity of Local Competition” and the “Extent of Market Dominance” – both under the Competition, Standards and Liberalization SRI, which fell 26 to 36 and 14 to 19 respectively.
“Given PEMANDU CEO’s promise that the ETP and the GTP should deliver ‘Big Fast Results’, he should also explain why the ETP and GTP has not only failed to further improve Malaysia’s ranking but Malaysia’s ranking has fallen by four positions, caused partly by falls in rankings in indicators which are under the purview of the ETP and GTP,” said Ong.
The GTP and ETP which are now poised to enter their fourth and third years of implementation respectively are initiatives by the Najib administration to lift Malaysia to a developed high income country by 2020.
Malaysia was ranked 21st in 2008, 24th in 2009, 26th in 2010 and 21st in 2011.
The setback in rankings this year are a reality check and signs that other countries are not standing still but are improving at a faster rate say economists.
Switzerland was ranked the world’s most competitive country this year, followed by Singapore, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands, Germany, US, UK, Hong Kong and Japan.
WEF identified inefficient government bureaucracy, corruption, an inadequately educated workforce, poor work ethics in the labour force and restrictive labour regulations as the top five problems faced when doing business in Malaysia.
It said that the country's most notable advantages are found in its efficient and competitive market for goods and services (ranked 11th) and its remarkably supportive financial sector (6th), as well as its business-friendly institutional framework.
Switzerland, which retains its top place again this year, was praised for its strong performance across the board.
WEF noted that the country’s strengths were related to innovation and labour market efficiency, where it tops the GCI rankings, as well as the sophistication of its business sector.
It added that Switzerland’s scientific research institutions are among the world’s best, and the strong collaboration between its academic and business sectors, combined with high company spending on R&D, ensures that much of this research is translated into marketable products and processes reinforced by strong intellectual property protection.
Second place Singapore was also praised for its outstanding performance across the entire index and both its public and private institutions were rated as the best in the world for the fifth year in a row.