Malaysia’s drop in the Global Competitiveness Index 2012-2013 to 25th spot from 21st last year is not only simply a failure of the Prime Minister Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak’s Economic Transformation Programme(ETP) but also a failure in technological readiness, fighting crime and building human capital formation.
In Jakarta, the City Mayor has just announced free wifi would be available on main roads and highways. As digital intelligence is of critical importance in the internet connected world, providing free wifi in public places would provide a much needed boost. There is no reason why free wifi in public places can not be done throughout Malaysia, if it can be implemented in Penang Or is Malaysia going to be behind not just Jakarta but also Indonesia eventually?
Regarding Malaysia’s technological readiness, the report notes three areas that require improvement, namely: international internet bandwidth in kilobits per second per user (ranked 83rd), broadband internet subscriptions per 100 population (68th) and mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 population (64th). This contributes to the low
level of technological readiness despite the country’s focus on promoting the use of ICT.
The common perception of an increase in crime negatively impacted Malaysia’s ranking with a drop in the rankings related to crime such as the business cost of crime and violence; organised crime; and reliability of police services. Clearly the drop in crime index poses many questions about the reliability in the compilation of statistics
and that the final determinant of public safety is not determined by statistics but ultimately whether the people feel safe.
The Global Competitiveness Report shows not only the general public but even investors and international community do not feel as safe as they would like in Malaysia. The time has come for both the Home Ministry and the police to stop being in denial but focus solely on fighting crime instead of allowing the police to be used as a tool to serve the political interests of BN against the legitimate opposition PR in Malaysia.
The Report also identified inefficient government bureaucracy, corruption, an inadequately educated workforce, poor work ethics in the labour force and restrictive labour regulations as the top five problems faced when doing business in Malaysia. Unless Malaysia succeeds in stopping the ruinous exchange of human talent with unskilled foreign workers, Malaysia’s hopes to escape the middle-income trap and join the ranks of high-income economies will remain a pipe dream.
Perhaps Malaysia should not just learn from Jakarta, but also China which attracts back its human talent from USA by paying them comparable salary rates, provide housing accomodation and most important of all opportunities of career advancement. With 2 million Malaysian leaving the country since 1957, Talent Corp would not only fail to attract them back but would see more Malaysians leaving unless more incentives can be given.
—Mandarin Version —-