KUALA LUMPUR: A World Bank report has ranked Malaysia as the sixth friendliest country in the world to do business, beating developed nations such as South Korea, the United Kingdom and Australia.
In a survey of 189 economies, the “Doing Business Report 2014” saw Malaysia jumping from 12th place last year, and up from 25th when it first joined the survey in 2007.
Countries with high rankings, according to the World Bank website, meant that their respective regulatory environments made it better for local firms to start up and operate.
Business-friendly reforms improved a country’s standing, which Malaysia was noted for.
These included the reducing of company registration fees, which made starting businesses here less costly.
The report said Malaysia also made it easier for people to deal with construction permits by coming up with a one-stop shop. Even getting electricity was a factor.
“Malaysia made getting electricity easier by increasing the efficiency of internal processes at the utility and improving its communication and dialogue with contractors,” it said.
The report included Malaysia as a case study for electronic tax filing and payments.
Despite initial public reluctance, the report said, more people used the e-filing system over time, with businesses aided in the process.
“The time that businesses need to comply with Malaysia’s tax regulations fell from 190 hours in 2004 to 133 hours in 2012,” it said.
The report also found Malaysia ranking highly along specific rankings.
Ranking first in the world, Malaysia tied with Britain for “Getting Credit”, and earned fourth and fifth places for “Protecting Investors” and “Trading Across Borders” respectively.
The report’s findings were welcomed by International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapha Mohamed, who said the country had aimed to be in the report’s top 10 list by 2015.
“Soon after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak assumed office, Malaysia was in 23rd place.
“The rise to sixth place is testament to his stewardship and a result of the economic and government transformation programmes,” Mustapa said in a statement yesterday.
He added that the ranking helped to reinforce Malaysia’s position as a preferred destination for trade and investments among local and foreign investors.
Singapore was ranked first in the World Bank’s list followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United States and Denmark.