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Innovation to boost our competitiveness

  • We have slipped in the latest ranking because some other economies have outperformed us.

Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily

According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2016–2017 by WEF, Malaysia is ranked 25th among 138 economies worldwide, with 5.16 points , down seven positions from its 18th ranking in the 2015-2016 report.

There are some correlations between a sliding ranking and external factors. Global uncertainties, the strong Dollar, plummeting commodity prices and a slowing Chinese economy are all factors we cannot control when mapping out our policies.

Nevertheless, I must stress that the report has been made after taking into consideration a total of 114 macroscopic and microscopic parameters that are put under 12 major benchmark indicators. The index has been arrived at partly based on the statistics provided by internationally recognized bodies while the remaining indicators on WEF's own quality assessment.

This means statistics done by internationally recognized bodies can affect our ranking while the feedback and information we provide in response to the WEF quality assessment survey will affect our total points as well.

We cannot deny that the government's performance and progress in mapping out policies under several key benchmarks have been quite stable. The only downside is insufficient and incomplete information fed to specific groups of people such as corporate companies, resulting in them unable to feel the actual progress made by the authorities in terms of regulations and specifications, and thus their inability to provide feedback based on facts.

Take Bank Negara's tightening of bank loans for example, this to a certain extent will affect our score in financial market development, although the move is seen as absolutely essential given the many social problems arising from overfinancing by Malaysians.

On this, Bank Negara should have more appropriately conveyed its own points of consideration in a bid to achieve some common understanding with the corporate sector.

Healthcare is another area. Although the country has achieved some progress in terms of disease prevention and control, what we have done might not be sufficient when compared to the overall international data. The fact is, there is still some space for further improvement.

Malaysia's ranking has slipped for the first time having achieved six consecutive years of improvements. One of the reasons is our inadequate preparations in tackling the external factors. Although we are unable to control changes to the outside environment, at least we can do our best within our capability to offset the impact.

Take innovation for instance, we actually have a lot of space for improvement. We must enhance our innovativeness and lift our competitiveness if we were to avert the middle income trap.

We have slipped in the latest ranking because some other economies have outperformed us. On the one hand we have not improved enough upon our earlier foundation, on the other hand we have failed to improve how others perceive of us in a number of parameters.

Do bear in mind that we need to constantly move ahead or lag behind our competitors. The government's policies must go hand in hand with its enforcement capability in order to continuously propel the nation forward and prove our competitiveness.


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