Malaysia jumps to 15th spot in World Bank 2019 Doing Business report

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia advanced nine places to 15th spot among 190 economies worldwide in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 Report, which based its rankings on business regulations and ease of doing business.

World Bank Senior Economist and Statistician (Development Economics - Global Indicators Group) Arvind Jain said an acceleration in reforms had helped propel the country to be among the top 20 ranked economies globally.

“Malaysia carried out six business reforms in the past year, and it resulted in the dramatic increase in the overall business score, which led to the jump from 24th position to 15th this year,” he told a media briefing on the report here today.

He said these reforms were in terms of starting a business, dealing with the construction permits, securing electricity, registering property, trading across borders and resolving insolvency.

Noting that reforms were tough tasks, Arvind commended Malaysia’s track record for the past cycle in the reform agenda and expressed hope that Malaysia’s ranking would be sustained in the top 20.

According to the report, the top five countries in ease of doing business are New Zealand with a score of 86.59, Singapore (85.24), Denmark (84.64) Hong Kong (84.22) and South Korea (84.14).

Malaysia is ranked second among ASEAN countries with a score of 80.60, behind Singapore but ahead of Thailand (27th), Brunei (55th), Vietnam (69th), Indonesia (73rd) and Myanmar (171th).

The World Bank report said Malaysia was also among the world’s top five performers in several areas measured for doing business, notably in the area of protecting minority investors for which it ranked second only to New Zealand.  It said Malaysia’s excellence in this area was underpinned by its perfect score of 10 in the extent of disclosure index.

“A reform in the past year to improve the construction permit process helped advanced the country to a global rank of three in the area of dealing with construction permits, whereby it now takes 54 days to obtain the permit in Malaysia compared with 158 days globally and 133 days on average in the East Asian and Pacific region.

In the area of getting electricity, the report said Malaysia was now ranked fourth globally, with the cost for business to obtain electricity connection in the country being only 26 per cent of income per capita versus an average of 625 per cent in East Asia and Pacific.

However, it noted that the country continued to underperform in the area of starting a business, with a global ranking of 122.

“Despite the reforms of the past year and other reforms in earlier years, it takes 9.5 procedures and 13.5 days to register business in Malaysia, compared with two procedures and 1.5 days in Singapore and 3.5 procedures and 5.5 days in Brunei, the region’s best performer,” it added.

Meanwhile, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking said in a statement that the focus and direction of reform initiatives were on the right track as reflected by Malaysia’s much improved ranking.

He said one of these initiatives involved the follow-through action being taken based on the doing business reform recommendations that the World Bank group had presented to Malaysia.

Darell said the Government, through the Special Task Force To Facilitate Business (Pemudah) leadership, had seen regulatory reforms and improvements implemented by the focus groups with stakeholders’ support.  

Moving forward, in accelerating regulatory reform to improve business competitiveness, the structure would be strengthened to better address issues at the policy and execution levels, he said.

He added the government, via Pemudah, would undertake more reform initiatives to further enhance the ease of doing business of a new Malaysia that prospered through business competitiveness. - Bernama


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