BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT INDEX LAUNCHED

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PETALING JAYA, May 8 (Bernama) -- The Asia Foundation, the School of

Business of Monash University Sunway Campus, and RAM Holdings Bhd today launched

the 2012 Malaysia Business Environment Index (BEI), a diagnostic tool designed

to measure the business-friendliness of local governments in the country.

"The index is a Malaysia-specific diagnostic tool to benchmark and rank

local business environment that can be influenced by federal, state and local

policies and regulations," RAM''s Chief Group Economist Dr Yeah Kim Leng told

reporters after the launching ceremony here today.

The index also identifies high and low-performing districts and reveals the

successes and challenges faced by small and medium-sized enterprises-

experiences critical to a robust and dynamic private sector in Malaysia.

For the BEI pilot study, the first of its kind survey in Malaysia, 635

randomly-drawn SMEs in six states and 11 districts were asked to share

perceptions of their local business enviroment.

Senior Lecturer with the Department of Management at Monash University, Dr

Jane L.Y. Terpstra Tong said the 11 districts were ranked in order of

business-friendliness across nine areas of economic governance that are relevant

to local economic growth in Malaysia, including entry costs, transparency,

informal charges, property rights, and crime and security.

According to the BEI pilot study, Kemaman in the state of Terengganu ranked

the highest in business-friendliness followed by Sepang in the state of Selangor

while Ampang Jaya ranked the lowest and Petaling Jaya the second lowest.

Dr Tong said the BEI was a useful complement to the government''s Star Rating

System in which Ampang Jaya scored among the highest, different from the BEI

rankings.

"A key difference between the two complementary assessments is the BEI

relies on the perceptions of local business people while the Star Rating System

focuses on the internal structure of government funtions and captures the

experiences of internal government officers," she said.

Overseeings the survey''s methodology Dr Tong said the survey provided an

economic baseline and strengthened the advocacy capacity of business leaders to

engage local government officials.--BERNAMA

NUR SD

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