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Ease regulatory environment to attract more ventures, Malaysia told

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia must listen to the voice of foreign investors and our trade partners, said Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa.

It must also cater to the needs of foreign investors and make the country a conducive place to do business, he said, while stressing that Malaysia should continue to ease its regulatory environment to attract more foreign investments.

“I am mindful of the backdrop under which we are operating this year. The situation in the Eurozone is still unfolding with Britain exiting the European Union.

“The United States is in election mode, there are no signs of abating of the upheaval in the Middle East, while questions remain as to China’s direction economically and politically.

“As Malaysia has a relatively small domestic economy, we are dependent on international trade and so must continue to strive towards efficiency improvements.

“We must encourage more fo­reign investment and local companies to move up the value chain.

“Yet, there is much that can distract us and derail our best of intentions. We must band together and keep our eyes steadfast on our goal,” said Dr Ali at the launch of the Pemudah Annual Report 2015 here.

He said Malaysia’s performance in international ranking reports on competitiveness was proof of its hard work in trying to ease the business environment.

The World Competitiveness Year­book 2016 produced by the Institute for Management Development rank­ed Malaysia 19th out of 61 countries.

“The World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2016 placed Malaysia at 18th among 189 countries, while the World Economic Forum, in its Glo­bal Competitiveness Report 2015-2016, ranked Malaysia 18th most competitive nation,” he said.

On the Pemudah Annual Report 2015, Dr Ali singled out several posi­tive outcomes, especially in the area of “Trading Across Borders”, an initiative undertaken on Movement of Free Zone Dutiable Goods for Value-Added Activities to all Free Zone companies.

This initiative has resulted in savings of RM150mil a year in compliance costs, and 90% of the time that was previously expanded.

“This has led to a new Customs procedure being introduced to faci­litate the movements for value-added activities of goods and raw materials,” he said.

At the same event, Dr Ali also presented awards to the winners of the Pemudah Journalism Compe­tition 2015. The Star’s Lim Wing Hooi, from SMEBiz, was awarded the second prize of RM5,000 in the English print and online category for his article entitled Improving Processes to Optimise Operations.

The Star executive editor Errol Oh received a consolation prize in the same category, winning a cash prize of RM1,000.

Formed in 2007, Pemudah is a government special task force set up to facilitate business by forging a closer collaboration between the public and private sector.

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