Four Areas Of Reform To Convince International Markets That Malaysia Is More Productive And Competitive Than Thailand

Press Statement

Lim Guan Eng

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): Ministry of International Trade & Industry Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz when announcing the National Productivity Report for 2004, claimed that Malaysia’s productivity jumped by 3.4 Malaysia's productivity grew by 3.4 percent to RM25,495 for 2004 from RM24,652 in 2003.   For the year 2004, Malaysia's productivity growth of 3.4 percent exceeded that of Italy -0.5 percent, Germany (1.0 percent), Canada (1.2 percent), New Zealand (1.4 percent),the United Kingdom (2.3 percent), Japan (2.4 percent), the Republic of Korea (2.8 percent) and the United States of America (3.3 percent).

Compared with selected Asian countries in 2004, Malaysia's productivity growth exceeded that of Indonesia 1.1 percent, the Philippines (2.8 percent) and Thailand (3.3 percent). However, Singapore registered higher productivity growth of 6.6 percent followed by Hong Kong (4.5 percent) and Taiwan (3.6 percent).   

Such confidence by Datuk Seri Rafidah that Malaysia’s productivity is so good that it is only behind Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan in Asia is not shared by international analysts. If productivity can be equated with competitiveness, then Malaysia should be concerned by its drop in the World Competitiveness ranking from 16th in 2004 to No. 28th in 2005 behind Thailand(27).  

The competitiveness report undertaken by the International Institute For Management Development and supported by the World Economic Forum, should worry Malaysians as this is the first independent and respected international economic report that places Thailand ahead of Malaysia. This only underlines the need for Malaysia to carry out structural democratic and economic reforms.  

This perhaps explains Malaysian International Development Agency(MIDA) own figures where Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) in 2004 went down by RM 2.5 billion or 16% from RM 15.6 billion in 2003 to RM 13.1 billion in 2004. Total foreign and domestic investment went down by 1.4% from RM 29.1 billion in 2004 to RM 28.7 billion in 2003. 

DAP proposes four areas of reforms urgently needed to enable Malaysia to regain our international competitiveness.

  1. Democracy And Good Governance in the form of restoring local government elections that were banned for the past 40 years;

  2. Transparent Timely And Truthful Disclosure Of Information to prevent stock market manipulation and scandals that will affect public confidence in our capital markets;

  3. Effective Action Against Corruption so that government leaders who are convicted of money politics are charged for corruption, leaders who flaunt their unexplained extraordinary wealth with an extravagant lifestyle big houses and fast cars are investigated and immediate action taken against senior police officers who are not ashamed to declare assets of RM 34 million; and

  4. A Culture Of Excellence, Meritocracy And Accountability.

Many Malaysians have been distressed by the shameful scandal of our top scholars denied Public Services Department(PSD) scholarships even though they were honoured with a dinner with the Prime Minister. It is ridiculous that the top scholars student in SPM have to shed tears of despair publicly before his appeal for a scholarship can be approved.


*  Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary-General