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Govt needs clear roadmap for reforms in line with election promises, says MCA Youth

Publish date: Tue, 18 Jun 2024, 07:35 PM

AN MCA Youth leader has expressed concern over reports that Malaysia has fallen seven places to 34th out of 67 countries in the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Ranking.

In a statement on Tuesday (June 18) its secretary-general Saw Yee Fung reiterated concerns that without effective economic reform directions from the Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim-led government after nearly two years in power, the nation will remain stagnant.

“Competitiveness is crucial for economic development. Despite the Ringgit’s depreciation, Malaysia’s competitiveness continues to decline, exposing the government’s economic reforms as mere ‘dreams’ and ‘empty promises’,” Saw lamented.

“This year’s report had ranked Malaysia globally at 40th for corporate efficiency, 33rd (government efficiency), and 35th (infrastructure), highlighting the unity government’s failure to address economic challenges effectively, resulting in a deteriorating economic environment.”

Saw said while the Ringgit’s depreciation should have stimulated exports, Malaysia’s competitiveness has significantly retreated.

“At the same time, the Malaysia Madani unity government has treated the public as convenient cash cows via introduction of new and increased taxes, subsidy cuts, and price hikes,” she argued.

“The government must stop undermining the national economy and instead implement serious institutional reforms, pursue economic growth vigorously, reduce costs, attract foreign investments, cut administrative expenses, enhance government and business capabilities in high technology, productivity, TVET and AI, and promote improvements in the environment.”

Saw said reinstating the conviction that reinstating the more efficient and transparent Goods and Services Tax (GST) would boost government revenue.

“Simultaneously, investing in high-value talent rather than relying on cheap labour is essential, as Malaysia has lost its cost advantage compared to neighbours like Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, and Cambodia,” she remarked.

“Long-term strategies should focus on economic structural transformation, providing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with more incentives and policy support to boost productivity.

“Currently, SMEs contribute less than 40% to Malaysia’s productivity despite making up 97% of all businesses.”

The latest IMD World Competitiveness Ranking saw Malaysia losing four spots to end up 10th out of 14th countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and placing below Indonesia and Thailand in the ladder for the first time.

Malaysia’s decline was evident across nearly all factors assessed, including economic performance, government efficiency, and business efficiency. Infrastructure was the only measure in which Malaysia maintained its position.

The IMD World Competitiveness Ranking evaluates the ability of countries to create and sustain an environment conducive to the competitiveness of enterprises.

The current edition measured 67 economies, with each economy’s score derived from a mix of executive perceptions and statistical data.

The ranking methodology divided the national environment into four main factors: economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure. - June 18, 2024

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