The Star Online 15 September 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has been ranked 58th out of 157 countries and territories in the Economic Freedom of the World (EFW): 2015 Annual Report by Canada’s Fraser Institute, released on Tuesday by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS).

In 2014, Malaysia was ranked 74th.

The report, which was based on the most recent year available (2013), measures a country’s economic freedom by analysing the policies and institutions of 157 countries and territories. The measures include levels of personal choice, ability to enter markets, security of privately-owned property and the rule of law.

The report was produced in cooperation with the Economic Freedom Network, a group of independent research and educational institutes in 90 nations and territories.

Commenting on the results, IDEAS chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan said Malaysia’s tremendous improvement in the EFW report was a big success.

“This is a snapshot from 2013 and therefore a recognition of the efforts by the Government to make the private sector the engine of growth.

“Initiatives in the Economic Transformation Programme such as divestment of government-linked companies and liberalisation of service sectors may contribute to improving our score in this index,” he said in a statement.

While most score indicators have improved, Saiful, however, said five sub-indicators, including the legal enforcement of contracts, have declined.

The indicator, which measures the efficiency of the judicial system in resolving commercial disputes, showed the time, cost and number of procedures of the settlement process were getting less efficient, he said.

“We must push ahead with liberalisation and not give in to the temptation of increasing the Government’s role in the economy because it will give a smaller space and incentive for the private sector to grow and excel,” Saiful added.

Hong Kong recorded the highest level of economic freedom worldwide, followed by Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, Mauritius, Jordan, Ireland, Canada and the United Kingdom.

IDEAS is a local think-tank and an independent not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting market-based solutions to public policy challenges. – Bernama

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