SUNGAI PETANI, June 19 (Bernama) -- Malaysia's position in the eyes of the world as the most favoured nation to invest has further strengthened and has overtaken many advanced nations, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today.
He said the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2011 has reported that Malaysia was the world's 14th most competitive nation while in the World Bank's Doing Business Report 2012, Malaysia had jumped five notches from 23rd to 18th spot, overtaking developed countries like Germany, Japan, Taiwan, Switzerland and France.
The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness, in its 2011 report, has placed Malaysia in the 21st spot, climbing five notches from 26th placing among 142 countries in the world.
Malaysia is also at the sixth spot among Asia-Pacific countries and No. 2 in the Asean region, he said.
Muhyiddin said foreign investors have placed Malaysia at the 10th spot among the world's most favoured nations.
"These world bodies' statements of integrity are not stated merely for fund but must be explained that the country's leadership is constantly focused and serious in transforming Malaysia into a developed nation," he said.
"We must be grateful to God because the Barisan Nasional (BN) government's policies and agendas are in line with the objective to attain developed country states and to propel Malaysia into a high-income nation in 2020," he said when opening the state-level micro, small and medium entrepreneurs' gathering at the Universiti Teknologi Mara branch campus in Merbok, near here, today.
Muhyiddin said Malaysia was on the right track to attain advanced nation status as the government was actively implementing various development programmes to realise the goal besides ensuring the people's well-being.
He said the BN Government's seriousness was evident from the implementation of the Government's Transformation Programme, Economic Transformation Programme and Rural Transformation Programme.
On entrepreneur development, Muhyiddin said the International Trade and Industry Ministry and the agencies under its purview are implementing various programmes, among them skills upgrading training, innovation, marketing, rebranding. financial assistance and expanding market for halal products.
Muhyiddin said SME Corp has issued soft loans totalling RM27.5 million to 53 companies in Kedah and has approved 1,184 new applications with grants amounting to RM44.53 million.
He said the Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Berhad has sanctioned financing totalling RM381 million to 247 companies in the state including RM35.5 million federal government financial aid to 42 companies to help simulate the state economic growth.
The Malaysian Investment Development Authority has also approved incentives to 49 small and medium sized projects involving RM93.2 million investment, he said. The projects offered 1,340 jobs in diverse sectors in Kedah.
Of the 10,140 exporting companies registered with the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation, 250 companies or 2.5 per cent are from Kedah, he added.
At the event, Muhyiddin handed cheques for Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM)cash aid totalling RM247.758 million, TEKUN (Tabung Ekonomi Usahawan Nasional) (RM1.5 million; Skim Usahawan Dinamik Mara (RM65,000); SME Corp Micro Entrepreneurs' Award and education assistance to children of AIM and TEKUN loan recipients.
The two-day entrepreneurs' gathering beginning today provides an opportunity to participating entrepreneurs to introduce their products and listen to talks on business prospects and latest information.