KUALA LUMPUR - Despite the external and domestic headwinds, Malaysia retained its position among the top 25 competitive nations, coming in 24th out of 63 countries in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2017 (WCY) published by the Swiss-based Institute for Management Development (IMD).
Even though Malaysia dropped from 19th spot out of 61 countries last year, it improved its score slightly to 83.53 from 83.05 last year.
Herewith, the IMD's WCY top 25 rankings report reproduced by the Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC):
1) Hong Kong (100.00)
2) Switzerland (99.66)
3) Singapore (99.49)
4) USA (98.66)
5) Netherlands (96.55)
6) Ireland (95.79)
7) Denmark (95.56)
8) Luxembourg (95.06)
9) Sweden (94.96)
10) UAE (94.08)
11) Norway (93.07)
12) Canada (92.25)
13) Germany (91.59)
14) Taiwan (90.48)
15) Finland (88.89)
16) New Zealand (88.67)
17) Qatar (88.10)
18) China (87.76)
19) United Kingdom (86.78)
20) Iceland (86.40)
21) Australia (85.25)
22) Israel (85.10)
23) Belgium (83.91)
24) Malaysia (83.53)
25) Austria (83.33)
According to the report released today, Malaysia's competitiveness was adversely affected by the dynamic and challenging external environment in 2016 such as the uncertainties surrounding the monetary policy path of the US, sharp movements in global commodity prices and the uncertain trajectory of global growth.
"Nevertheless, Malaysia's continued economic and financial resilience have provided the support to withstand external shocks and prevents Malaysia from experiencing a more significant decline in performance," the report revealed.
MPC Director-General Datuk Mohd Razali Hussain said Malaysia slipped one notch to second position among 32 countries with gross domestic product (GDP) per capita less than US$20,000.
He said Malaysia was overtaken by China which recorded a good progress in its economy.
In the category of population greater than 20 million, he said Malaysia was ranked eight among 20 countries (2016: seventh).
In the Asia-Pacific region, Malaysia was placed sixth in 2017 compared with seventh last year, ahead of Japan which finished eight, Thailand (ninth), and South Korea (10th); and remained second in the ASEAN region after Singapore.
The WCY provides the most objective assessment of countries' competitiveness based on four factors, namely economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure, where in the 2017 report, Malaysia was ranked 13th, 25th, 19th, and 32nd , respectively from 11th, 18th, 14th, and 31st , respectively in the previous year.
Going forward, Mohd Razali said the government is determined to continue to accelerate its implementation initiatives to sustain the future of Malaysia's competitiveness.
He said to keep up the momentum towards enhancing Malaysia's performance, intensive process of engagement with various government agencies through cluster working group and industry players is crucial.
"Things that happening around us at the moment in terms of improvement in external environment and the first quarter (GDP) results of 5.6 per cent, provide a good momentum and confidence towards business community.
"We are confident that in the next report that we are going to see improvement in terms of our ranking," he said.
Mohd Razali said Malaysia's competitiveness depended on the medium- to long-term productivity and growth prospects of the national economy, whilst benchmarking and best practices from other countries were crucial for the nation to identify gaps and take actions to improve its performance.