Thursday, October 20, 2011

Doing Business Malaysian Style

The World Bank and the International Finance Corporation released their 2012 Doing Business Index yesterday. Malaysia climbed five spots to 18th (excerpt; emphasis added):

Malaysia up five notches in World Bank ranking

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has jumped five notches to 18th place in the World Bank's Doing Business 2012 Report, placing it ahead of the economies of developed countries like Germany, Japan, Switzerland and Belgium.

The report highlighted Malaysia's steps in introducing electronic filing in courts, setting up specialised civil and commercial courts in Kuala Lumpur and creating a one-stop centre for business start-ups by merging company, tax, social security and employment fund registrations.

Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan said the improved ranking from 23rd last year to 18th showed the Government's reform measures had begun to show results.

However, he cautioned the public and private sectors that there was “still a lot of work to do”…

…According to the report, Malaysia recorded improvements in six categories and unchanged status in two.

However, it did not score well in certain categories, including dealing with construction permits, paying taxes and enforcing contracts.

You can get the report here (warning: pdf link; Malaysia’s details are on page 110) – most of the highlights and lowlights from the report I’ve put in bold in the article quoted. But there’s still some other interesting titbits in the data:

  1. Even though it’s easier to start a business than before, Malaysia still ranks 50th;
  2. Same thing with contract enforcement and insolvency resolution – the ranking’s improved, but it’s still just middle of the pack (31st and 47th);
  3. We’re 1st in access to credit, and 4th in investor protection. While the former might not sound so encouraging, it’s actually a pretty important factor for FDI, particularly SME FDI.
  4. Construction permits (rank: 113), on average take 22 procedures and 260 days to get – about as long as a full term pregnancy.
  5. Taxes involve about 13 payments per annum and 133 man-hours.

As the Chief Secretary said, there’s still a lot of work to do.

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