Global competitiveness rankings – another letdown

The latest (2009-2010) world competitiveness index, compiled by the World Economic Forum, shows the inevitable results that Malaysia’s ranking has dropped from 21 to 24.

The top 24 ranked countires are as followed: (for the full list , go here)

The Global Competitiveness Index 2009–2010 rankings and 2008–2009 comparisons
© 2009 World Economic Forum              
  GCI 2009–2010   GCI 2008–2009        
Country/Economy Rank Score   Rank*        
Switzerland 1 5.60   2        
United States 2 5.59   1        
Singapore 3 5.55   5        
Sweden 4 5.51   4        
Denmark 5 5.46   3        
Finland 6 5.43   6        
Germany 7 5.37   7        
Japan 8 5.37   9        
Canada 9 5.33   10        
Netherlands 10 5.32   8        
Hong Kong SAR 11 5.22   11        
Taiwan, China 12 5.20   17        
United Kingdom 13 5.19   12        
Norway 14 5.17   15        
Australia 15 5.15   18        
France 16 5.13   16        
Austria 17 5.13   14        
Belgium 18 5.09   19        
Korea, Rep. 19 5.00   13        
New Zealand 20 4.98   24        
Luxembourg 21 4.96   25        
Qatar 22 4.95   26        
United Arab Emirates 23 4.92   31        
Malaysia 24 4.87   21        


Many people may argue that being ranked NO. 24 is not so bad. Indeed, it is not too bad. But if you are swimming in a competition, and your opponents are overtaking you, and your ranking is dropping, it is not a good sign. I would rather the country’s ranking improves from NO 30 to 25, than to drop from 21 to 24, because any decline will have momentum and given more time, the momentum is going to move our country to even lower rankings.

The whole interactive report on Malaysia can be viewed here.

In 2006, I have written an article  “will Malaysia be marginalised”,and i thought thast we are going to be marginalised if we do not bucked up.  True enough,  our competitiveness is slipping  slowly and if this is not checked, we will soon be dropping even further and in a few more years, we will be marginalised.

If I am a foreign investor and I want to invest here, I will read about the country widely and one of the yardsticks that I will consider is certainly this Global competitiveness.

For the past few months, we have too much of politicking, so much so that a lot of people are getting fed up . It is time for BN as well as PR to concentrate on administering and governing. Let the rakyat judge the performance of both sides, rather than using undemocratic ways to try to topple elected governments, which is the main cause of all the politicking for the past few months.

Rakyat elects a govenrment hoping that it can deliver, and once elections have decided the winner, let us give a chance for the winner to perform for the next couple of years, until the next election. If by then, anyone is not performing, I think the voting masses will know who to kick out and who to put in office….

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. klm
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 14:05:12

    Dr. Hsu. If you take a look at the list above the Malaysia, other than Qatar and UAE, these countries are the so called developed countries of the world, the tier 1 countries. Malaysia had done well in reaching the doorway. But crossing this door way is a very different thing from what Malaysia had done in the past. Malaysia is having great difficulties in make the crossover. The characteristics of these countries are:

    1. Liberal and open economy
    2. Other than a few, a vigorous and democratic government system
    3. Strong governance, transparency and accountability
    4. Little or no public corruption
    5. Quality education system
    6. Knowledge industries
    Strong nurturing of talent
    7. open immigration

    These are many things Malaysia do not have. Without the political will to make the changes needed, Malaysia will still be at the doorway 10 years from now.


  2. Dr Hsu
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 14:12:02

    we would have reached the top ten, I believe, if we have practised any 5 out of 7 that you have mentoned.


  3. CYC
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 14:42:19

    Item no. 4 & 5 listed by klm literally kill off whatever potential our country may possess.

    What could foreign investors expect when we have “five push two equal to three” kind of education standard.


  4. klm
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 15:05:04

    Oh. I have to say that Qatar and UAE should not be on the list. They have very different characteristics from the rest. You can consider these two countries as the most progressive in the Middle East. To me they are anomalies. Their competitiveness depends entirely on foreign labours.


  5. Dr Hsu
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 15:36:50

    your criteria applies, but only to the top 21 countries. We were no 21 last year, indeed at the door, but since then we have step back 3 steps from the door, because of lack of some if not all of the criteria you have listed.


  6. Meng
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 19:36:55

    If you look into the profile for malaysia and under public institution…you have a better picture of how we are viewed.


  7. disgusted
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 21:31:18

    Good number: 24. Cantonese means, “easy to die.”
    That’s what this BN government is fated to be.


  8. ahoo
    Sep 10, 2009 @ 11:31:52

    Not too bad to be rank number 24. I thought we would have fallen behind Thailand and Indonesia ? Or maybe that would be soon at the rate we are going. In years to come, even Vietnam may overtake us unless those incompetent ones are replaced with a cabinet that are proactive and cares for the people’e welfare. Also have policies that are unbiased that will attract foreign investors. Without investors we will go back to the dinosaur age.


  9. 1MY
    Sep 10, 2009 @ 13:10:22

    At least Malaysia is only behind Singapore in South Sea Asia. So OK. What is 4.87 to 5.55? Well, we are still in the comfort zone, ahead of Indonesia, Thailand and Philipines.

    But don’t trust the ranking system. For example, some top overseas universities lower their standard to pass international students otherwise complaint from parents having to paid high fees. They just can’t afford to fail these students as a decline in intake may determine their survival. So an overseas cert may not be in par with local cert. Another comfort for local graduates.

    So, not to worry. Try harder next year, Malaysia. Yes you can!


  10. Dr Hsu
    Sep 10, 2009 @ 14:25:41

    yes, 24 is not a bad rankings, but i am more concerned about the sliding of positions rahter than positions per se.

    Position is of course important. If it is 90 or 100, then it will be a mammoth task to catch up and almost impossible to reach the top quarter.

    But having being in the top quarter, but sliping from 17 to 21 and then to 24 this year, it means that something is seriously worng. and the downward momentum may carry us down to 30 soon if things are not corrected.

    It is like a company, with its profits margins getting smaller and smaller.. A company previously in the red but now improving and start getting into black may have more potential than a company that sees its profits decreasing year on year on year. (china is one such example, its competitiveness is increasing, and even though it is still lower than Malaysia, you can expect it to go higher and higher until it overtakes us some point in future… same as Vietnam, and thailand, and who knows, maybe Indonesia too).

    Just like our universities. MU was within the first 100, but its positions slipped down year on year, and soon it is no longer in the top 100 and now, I do not even know where it is …. is it outside top 200???

    In investments, to lose 500 from 1000 is losing 50%, but to gain from 500 to 1000, you need to gain 100%… So once it is down, it is not so easy to go up again….


  11. zzz
    Sep 11, 2009 @ 11:46:15

    u r right, doc; once it is down, it is not so easy to go up again.

    on a lighter note, same applies to dickie.


  12. Trackback: Mirror mirror on the wall, where will Malaysia be heading to? « Dr. Hsu's forum

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