The first quarter of 2019 indicated a positive start to the year, with approved foreign investments into Malaysia increased by 73.4% to RM29.3 billion from RM16.9 billion in the first quarter of 2018. This commendable performance could only be achieved with the conducive business climate within the country, which has not gone unnoticed by international observers.
Malaysia was ranked the world’s best country to invest in or do business for 2019 by CEOWORLD Magazine, a highly targeted publication with more than 10 million monthly page views for executive leaders and high-level senior management who create and fund the innovations that drive the global economy.
Each year, CEOWORLD Magazine ranks the world based on a variety of categories, ranging from the world’s richest people to the best universities, top companies, and top executives.
According to the report, the ranking was based on 11 different factors which includes corruption, freedom personal, trade, and monetary, workforce, investor protection, infrastructure, taxes, quality of life, red tape, and technological readiness, whereby each category was equally weighted.
Among other reputable investment destinations indicated include Poland, who took silver, followed by the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia, among the 67 countries evaluated.
Not forgetting, over the past year, Malaysia has been recognised for its continuous and focused reform agenda to keep the country’s economy competitive and vigilant. This is illustrated in Malaysia’s stellar performance of advancing nine places to the 15th rank among 190 economies worldwide in the Ease of Doing Business Report 2019 published by the World Bank.
Some features introduced by Malaysia that were highlighted in the World Bank report include the increase in ease of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, approval for electricity, registering property, trading across borders, resolving insolvency as well as legislation for regulating worker protection and social benefits.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2018 echoed Malaysia’s achievements in terms of global competitiveness. Malaysia ranked 25 out of 140 countries, placing second (2nd) among nine South-East Asian countries and was one of the three non-high-income countries (the other two countries were China and Thailand) that were featured in the top 40 of the list.
Amid the transformations and disruptions brought about by the 4th Industrial Revolution, the report also cited Malaysia as the ninth (9th) in the list as being most “future-ready”. This was recognised through several indicators in the index, which captured adaptability and agility of all stakeholders such as individuals, governments and businesses in a changing world.
Given Malaysia’s strategic location in the international trade route, with an open and diversified economy, the Government has been a consistent proponent in encouraging quality foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country. The tireless initiatives pursued through various ministries and agencies, such as the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) include engagements with investors; conferring of incentive packages to strategic industries including catalytic industries namely electrical and electronics (E&E), machinery and equipment, chemical as well as high-potential industries such as medical devices and aerospace; and facilitating the implementation of investors’ projects.
In early May 2019, MIDA received the Top Investment Promotion Agency 2019 award in the Asia-Pacific National category by Site Selection magazine, a US-based international business publication.
MIDA won the same award in 2015 and 2016. This renewed commendation reflects MIDA’s continuous efforts in responding to the needs of expanding companies, maximising efficiency and earning the trust and respect of decision-makers across the globe.
In the nutshell, despite the dynamic and challenging global business environment, the Government will continue to seek out and develop human capital, technology and infrastructure, focusing on sharpening Malaysia’s competitive edge in the global arena. Malaysia, a diversified nation, will remain resilient, where businesses can thrive in a stable, secure and transparent environment.