- CA ANZ paper reveals story behind the improving prosperity rankings in Asia
- Singapore and Hong Kong are significantly over-performing in economic measurements
- Malaysia is scoring well for education
Singapore and Hong Kong are significantly outperforming in terms of economic measurements, while Malaysia is shaping up well on the score of education, according to The Quest for Prosperity: Shaping the future of our regions, a joint publication from CA ANZ and the Legatum Institute.
“Freedom is necessary for prosperity, and Hong Kong has logged a decline on this score over the decade”
Singapore, the most prosperous country in South East Asia, enjoys stronger governance than in the past due to improved political participation. However, the city-state scores very low in regards to personal freedoms, ranking it a poor 97th globally. Press freedom, for example, need to be better protected, while governmental restrictions on religion remain firmly in place.
Singapore’s declining social capital presents challenges to its future prosperity. Of most concern is the falling donations score. Lower social capital affects wellbeing because people need support from friends and family. But it also impacts economic growth by undermining the trust necessary for business relations to efficiently operate. Therefore, Singapore should focus on correcting this trend.
Hong Kong should consider focusing on securing better personal freedoms for its citizens, noted the CA ANZ and the Legatum Institute report. Freedom is necessary for prosperity, and Hong Kong has logged a decline on this score over the last decade.
As a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong is an autonomous business hub and enjoys a high standard of living. However, a reduction in personal freedoms may have knock-on effects to other pillars, such as economic quality and the business environment. Personal freedoms are central to stable governance, which is necessary for attracting and retaining business and fostering general community wellbeing.
Hong Kong should consider lifting its environmental performance. To be fair, a plan to improve air quality is underway. This measure should be pursued vigorously, as acceptable air-quality vital to the health and wellbeing of the city’s citizens. A healthier environment will lift productivity and the attractiveness of Hong Kong as a place for businesses and will help attract more skilled migrants seeking a decent quality of life.
Malaysia performs reasonably on education. However, it could still embark on reforms to improve the quality of its education system.
Education is a valuable conduit for lifting prosperity. In particular, a strong focus on increasing participation in vocational training and tertiary education would enable Malaysia to focus on building its human capital. There is a high need for skills in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. These skills will enable Malaysians to compete in the global economy.
Personal freedoms in Malaysia must be improved, as prosperity improves when citizens are free. There needs to be more protection for human rights and respect for the rule of law, which will enable Malaysia to continue to increase its prosperity score.
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