A new survey says businesspeople in the region see Indonesia as the top investment destination in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. 

Businesspeople in the region see Indonesia as the top investment destination in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, according to a survey released on Thursday.

The survey, by the Asean Business Advisory Council, questioned 405 businesspeople and industry leaders in the region, allowing them multiple responses.

Fifty percent of respondents selected Indonesia as Asean’s best investment destination, the survey said.

Next was Vietnam with 46 percent, followed by Singapore with 43 percent, Thailand and Malaysia with 42 percent, the Philippines with 27 percent, Laos and Cambodia with 26 percent, Burma with 25 percent and Brunei with 17 percent.

“The results of this survey in general are similar to the findings of the Asean Business Outlook 2011-2012 survey, which showed that 85 percent of American firms questioned were planning to expand into Asean in the next two years,” a press release issued by Asean BAC said.

It also said that a recent survey conducted by the Japan External Trade Organization found that Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam were the main destinations for business expansions in the next three years.

The Asean BAC survey measured Asean countries’ investment attractiveness on a scale of zero to 10. Indonesia received the highest rating at 6.89, followed by Vietnam (6.29), Singapore (6.07), Thailand (6.04) and Malaysia (5.69).

The biggest problems with investing in Indonesia are corruption and legal uncertainty, the survey said. But those problems are also prominent in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, it said.

Indonesia’s other problems involve the custom and excise administration, taxes, infrastructure, permit processing, crime, unrest and actions undermining business competitiveness, according to the survey.

Respondents cited political stability and access to financing as among the advantages of investing in Indonesia.

For Thailand, political instability and corruption were cited as the biggest deterrents to investment. In the Philippines, faulty infrastructure was cited as the main problem.

One-fourth of those questioned came from Indonesia, while Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines together accounted for 47 percent.

“That the composition of the respondents was higher from these countries was intentional because they represent the largest economies in terms of population and GDP,” the release said.

As a region, Asean was rated as an attractive destination for investment, with 88 percent of those questioned saying they planned to expand their business into at least one more of the grouping’s countries in the next three years.

“Half of these business groups want to invest in Indonesia while more than 40 percent want to invest in Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia,” the statement said. Asean was also rated as a more attractive investment destination than China.

Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s largest economy. –Heru Andriyanto, http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/economy/indonesia-tops-asean-investment-survey/509737