Malaysia's global competitiveness dropped seven places due in part to 1MDB, and not complaints from the public as claimed by federal minister Ong Ka Chuan, said Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli.
Rafizi was referring to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) 2016-2017, which revealed that Malaysia had dropped from 18th place to 25th place this year, out of 138 countries.
"It is only natural that Malaysia loses its competitiveness steadily in the aftermath of a national mess as gigantic as 1MDB.
"The toxic out of the 1MDB scandal spreads across the spectrum horizontally and vertically – all sectors are affected from the manufacturing to the arts; everyone is affected from the richest to the poorest," Rafizi said in a statement today.
The PKR secretary-general claimed that public funds meant for schools and hospitals have also been diverted to pay for 1MDB's debts, resulting in a drop in quality of services in public education and healthcare.
This, he said, will scare off investors, setting off a chain reaction which results in slower economic growth, smaller government revenue, and further budget cuts.
Ong, who is Second Deputy International Trade and Industry minister, yesterday said complaining Malaysians were partly to blame for the fact that Malaysia's ranking had dropped.
He pointed out that 70 percent of WEF's assessment was based on the perception of the locals - in this case, Malaysians, Ong said, some of whom have grudges against the government.
Ong also said Malaysia's drastic drop in 'Health and Primary Education - from 24th last year to 44th this year - may be because WEF did not take into account the Zika virus when assessing the countries.
He also suggested that parents' tendency to take their children with them when they went overseas had affected enrolment, while the influx of foreigners in the country had increased the number of tuberculosis cases.
Responding to this, Rafizi said it was ironic that Ong himself was “complaining” and blaming others for the drop in rankings.
He said a “whining” trade minister would chase foreign investers more effectively than the general public's alleged daily complaints about the country's direction.
The GCR is an annual report published by the WEF, based on the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), which combines 114 indicators that integrate both macro- and micro-economic aspects of competitiveness.
These indicators are grouped into 12 pillars comprising Institutions, Infrastructure, Macro-economic Environment, Health and Primary Education, Higher Education and Training, Goods Market Efficiency, Labour Market Efficiency, Financial Market Development, Technological Readiness, Market Size, Business Sophistication and Innovation.