KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has maintained its 22nd rank among 63 countries in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2019.
With a score of 82.54 points, Malaysia is ahead of Belgium (27th), South Korea (28th) and Japan (30th).
But Malaysia is overtaken by New Zealand by one spot to be ranked 7th among the 14 Asia-Pacific economies, and was second to Singapore in Asean.
Malaysia also emerged second among the 28 economies with gross domestic product per capita less than US$20,000.
International Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking said the ranking reflects positive sentiments of the business community towards the new government.
“The report showed improvements in institutional related indicators such as bribery and corruption, transparency, bureaucracy, justice, social cohesion and public finance in terms of rankings and value scored compared to the previous year.
“All these indicators increased in value score more than 10%, ranging between 10.8% in public finances to 31.1% in bribery and corruption,” he said in a statement.
The World Competitiveness Yearbook is published by IMD World Competitiveness Centre, based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
It assesses economies based on four competitiveness input factors: economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure, each encompassing five sub-factors.
Darell said the challenging external environment last year had somewhat affected the competitiveness of smaller economies including Malaysia.
He said the shutdown of the US federal government, as well as the uncertainties in its monetary policies, the slowdown in China’s economic growth and the ongoing US-China trade tension, had also affected the Malaysian economy.
“I believe Malaysia’s economic indicators are improving and through the implementation of key reforms Malaysia will prosper in this competitive race,” he added.