Malaysia ranked 12th most business-friendly country: World Bank

PETALING JAYA - Malaysia has been ranked the 12th most business friendly country globally and is first in terms of ease of getting credit, said a World Bank report.

This is the highest standing that Malaysia has achieved since the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation began compiling the annual ranking in 2005.

According to the Doing Business 2013: Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises report released yesterday, Malaysia was fourth in the world for protecting investors.

Malaysia's position had risen steadily from 23rd in 2010 to the 18th spot this year.

The latest ranking puts Malaysia ahead of other highly regarded economies such as Sweden (13th), Taiwan (16th), Germany (20th), Japan (24th) and Switzerland (28th).

World Bank Country Director for Malaysia Annette Dixon commended the country for "its ongoing efforts to reduce the costs of doing business".

"This will help the private sector drive growth, especially if Malaysia can build on its success by continuing to tackle long-term challenges, such as improving the quality of education," she said in a statement.

World Bank Senior Economist for Malaysia Frederico Gil Sander praised the country for continuing to improve "the quality of domestic regulations".

"This has great potential to energise the private sector when combined with stepped-up implementation of strategic reform initiatives especially the liberalisation of the services sector and the enforcement of Malaysia's new competition law," Sander said.

The report covers the period from June 2011 to June 2012, and the ranking is based on assessment of regulations in key areas of business as well as the efficiency of tax administration and the ease of trading across borders, among others.

The report lauded Malaysia for establishing the Pemudah inter-ministerial level committee to reform business regulations and procedures, and acknowledged the country as being among the top 10 economic reformers in the APEC region.

Past president of the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce Datuk Nicholas Zefferys said the ranking was a "wonderful accomplishment" that reflected the country's persistent efforts to be among the best in the world.

"The competition gets ever tougher as that goal (of being the best) is nearly achieved but Malaysia Boleh!" Zefferys added.

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