Singapore’s overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will surpass Malaysia’s to become the third largest in Southeast Asia, according to government forecasts in both countries. Thanks to Singapore’s record economic growth in recent times, GDP will grow by 15% to reach US$210 billion by the end of this year, just overtaking Malaysia which is set to reach $205 billion on the back of its own 7% growth.

Indonesia and Thailand still hold the #1 and #2 positions respectively.

Given that Malaysia is 478 times larger than its city-state neighbor, economists and businesspeople are looking for explanations. Some say Malaysia too inward-looking, concerned more with distribution of wealth within its borders than in gaining a competitive edge over other countries in the region. Others say it’s Singapore’s economic reinvention and willingness to engage international markets. Even former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed has weighed in by saying Singapore is concerned only with economic growth and not enough with social policy.

Whatever the reasons, Singapore’s economy has grown 189-fold since independence in 1965, three times the rate of Malaysia itself. GDP per capita in Singapore went from US$512 to $36,537, and from $335 to $6975 in Malaysia.

It’s important to remember that economic growth is not a zero-sum game, and Singapore’s wealth creates plenty of opportunities for Malaysia to benefit by utilizing its physical proximity and Singapore’s access to global markets, as well as increased trade and foreign investment opportunities.

source & article: Today Online