Trade Minister Confident Malaysia Will Improve On Competitive Index

The government is confident Malaysia’s position in the IMD World Competitiveness Ranking 2025 will improve from this year’s, driven by the increase in high-tech product exports.

Investment, Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said the lower high-tech exports influenced Malaysia’s diminished rank last year, and that it was a short-term situation that is expected to improve this year.

The minister said this is following many new investments from electrical and electronics companies in Malaysia, as well as those from multinational corporations.

“All of these (investments) will begin to have an effect in the next 12 to 18 months, and they will improve our position,” he said in a post on social media.

High-tech exports are products with extensive research and development components, such as those in the aerospace, computer, pharmaceutical, scientific instruments, chemical, and electrical machinery sectors.

Tengku Zaful said Malaysia’s lower position in the IMD ranking which dropped to 34th from 27th position, was resulted from a fall in electronic communications exports due to lower global demand and increased global competition for electronic communications products last year.

“For example, China’s high-tech exports in the first 10 months of 2023 fell 11.4 per cent year-on-year to US$728.2 billion (RM3.4 trillion), while South Korea’s (high-tech exports) plummeted 28 per cent to US$110 billion, and Japan was 10 per cent lower to US$76.9 billion,” he said.

However, Tengku Zafrul said the global sales of semiconductors are projected to increase 16 per cent in 2024 and 12.5 per cent in 2025, benefiting Malaysia as the world’s sixth largest semiconductor exporter.

“When demand for semiconductors increases, it is automatic for a country’s high-tech exports to increase too,” he said.

Tengku Zafrul added that stable economic growth, low unemployment and an inflation rate that remains under control will improve Malaysia’s position in the near future.

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