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MALAYSIA was ranked 32nd in the 2022 International Institute for Management Development world competitiveness ranking (WCR), down seven positions from the 25th spot in 2021 – the lowest position it has held in five years.
It faced a downturn in factors such as business efficiency (down from 24th to 38th), government efficiency (down to 38th from 30th) and infrastructure (down to 37th from 30th).
On the bright side, economic factor gained the third spot from 15th. Some specific sub-factors performing poorly are the domestic economy (50th under economic performance), business legislation (50th under government efficiency), productivity and efficiency (46th under business efficiency) and education as well as health and environment (both at 44th position under the infrastructure factor).
The WCR assessed 63 global economies, where 333 competitiveness criteria were selected as a result of comprehensive research using economic literature, international, national, and regional sources.
The results also used feedback from the business community, government agencies and academics as well as survey responses of senior executives from 56 local partner institutes.
Regionally, compared with the European Union and the United States, Thailand dropped from 28th to 33rd, while Indonesia fell from 37th to 44th, driven by the slow reopening of the economy post-Covid-19. China dropped one spot to from 16th to 17th, partly reversing its strong upward trend in recent years. It signals a poor economic recovery exacerbated by its zero-Covid strategy despite some easing or economic assistance programmes deployed by the authorities. Just days after the stringent lockdown was lifted, some districts in Beijing and Shanghai were under lockdown again, disrupting the recovery progress.
Going forward, China needs to restructure its own economy from full-fledged manufacturing to high-value services and from investment concentrated to consumption. Nonetheless, China is still among the Top 5 countries in the Asia-Pacific (Apac) economies along with Singapore (first), Hong Kong (second), Taiwan (third) and Australia fifth).
Singapore reaches the third spot in the overall ranking, up from the fifth, enjoying its top position in the Apac region.
Its recovery stemmed from substantial improvements in the domestic economy (first from 15th), employment (third from 18th), public finance (sixth from 12th) and productivity and efficiency (ninth from 14th). However, it remained low in several sub-factors including management practices (14th), scientific infrastructure (16th), health and environment (25th) and basic infrastructure (43rd).
India’s stellar performance
Meanwhile, India has the quickest rise among the Asian economies, ranking from 43rd to 37th. The stellar performance saw a six-spot jump after four stagnant years.