PUTRAJAYA: Strong finances coupled with prudent management of national debts contributed to the country's latest ranking in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, said Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah. "(The rankings are a good measure) to how our country manages its budget and national debts. "Our strong finances is why rating agencies continue to maintain (our rate) at A-," he told reporters after officiating the 1Malaysia Entrepreneur (1MET) graduation day at the Finance Ministry, here, today. Mohd Irwan added that Malaysia's economic and financial management is better compared to other countries. His comments came after Malaysia emerged second out of nine Asean countries for its efficiency in government spending, according to data from the WEF report. The report, which was released on Wednesday, stated that Singapore was placed second globally out of 137 countries, with first place going to the United Arab Emirates for efficiency in government spending. Malaysia, in 15th place, ranked better than other European and Asian countries such as Finland (16), Norway (18), China (19), Iceland (23), Sweden (26), and Japan (29). In terms of overall global competitiveness, Malaysia improved two spots to be ranked 23rd in the world from its 25th position last year. The report also said that the nation was the region's top emerging economy, ahead of countries such as South Korea and China, which was ranked 26th and 27th respectively. The annual report measures national competitiveness, which is defined as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity. On another matter, Mohd Irwan denied that the donation by Uber to the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (Magic) was in return for US$30 million (RM126.52 million) investment by the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) towards the global ride-sharing app. "No, it is not true at all. (There was) no conflict of interest," he said. Mohd Irwan who heads both Magic and KWAP as chairman respectively, was responding to whether there was a conflict of interest involved in Bloomberg's report on September 20. The report revealed that Uber had provided a corporate donation of tens of thousands of dollars announced in August 2016, to Magic, while KWAP supposedly invested US$30 million in Uber around the same time.