KUALA LUMPUR: Serious attention must be given to reports which said Malaysias global competitiveness ranking was declining, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail said.
The King, opening the new Parliament session yesterday, said he was concerned about such reports, which were published overseas.
One issue highlighted in the reports, he said, was the decline in the public service delivery system and how this would affect the countrys competitiveness.
Weaknesses and shortcomings must be rectified immediately, he said, and added: This will ensure that it fulfils the peoples needs.
Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin said that to attain high and sustainable economic growth, efforts to enhance competitiveness, productivity and efficiency were of utmost importance.
Thus, the private sector must resume its role as the key engine of growth by increasing investments in the latest technology, human resource and research, besides exploring new high value-added growth areas, he said.
He said the Ninth Malaysia Plan would provide policies and strategies to further strengthen the economic fundamentals to ensure there would be continued economic growth and further improvement in the quality of life of Malaysians.
Pointing out that the poverty rate was 5.7% in 2004, the King said: We can be confident that the objective of eradicating hardcore poverty will be achieved in the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin said that the continuing trade surplus since 1997 had contributed to the increase in Malaysias international reserves.
He said that almost all sectors of the economy expanded despite moderate growth in the world economy and rising international oil prices.
He said the public must act wisely in combating the rising inflation rate so that they would not be burdened by it.
He was pleased, he said, with the performance of the tourism sector which registered an income of approximately RM31bil from 16 million tourist arrivals last year.
The special terminal for low-cost airlines that would commence operations at the end of this month would help attract and increase the number of foreign tourists to the country, he said.
The King also said that telecommunication companies and state governments should take immediate action to address the problem in areas without telecommunication coverage or which had very poor coverage.
This (non-coverage or lack of coverage) not only brings difficulties to the people but also jeopardises our competitiveness, he said.