Malaysia falls one notch in global democracy ranking, still branded 'flawed democracy'

Published date03 February 2023
Publication titleMalay Mail Online

Malaysia fell one spot in the 2022 Economist Intelligence Unit democracy index released yesterday, ranking 40th globally and scoring among the worst for civil liberties.

The ranking makes the South-east Asian nation of 32 million people a 'flawed democracy' even as it scored well for electoral process and pluralism assessment, according to the research and analysis division of London-based financial magazine The Economist.

'Understandably, all eyes are on Ukraine and its fight for self-determination. However, the Asia region is also subject to conflicting territorial claims and geopolitical flashpoints.

'The challenge for countries in the region is how to navigate old and new threats to sovereignty and maintain a resilient democracy in the long term,' the report's editor Joan Hoey said in an accompanying press release.

Within the 'flawed democracy' bracket, Malaysia occupied the 16th rung, below countries like Israel, Botswana, Malta and Italy among others.

The EIU assigns 'full democracy' status to countries that score 8 and above, while those between 7.99 to 5.99 as 'flawed democracy'.

Countries that score between 5.99 to 3.96 are what the agency termed as 'hybrid regime', governments that are borderline authoritarian.

The index scores a country using five benchmarks that look at how fair and plural elections are, the functioning of a government, political participation, political culture and civil liberties.

Malaysia scored 9.58 for the first benchmark but scored a low 5.59 for civil liberties. It did fairly well in terms of functioning of government, scoring 7.86 to beat even countries like the United States and Italy.

Political participation in the country is also fairly decent although still far below the US and Israel, at 7.22. The US and Israel, close allies, scored in the high eights.

Regionally, Malaysia ranked 6th.

Only five countries in the Asia-Australia region are considered full democracies based on the EIU index scores: New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

New Zealand also ranked second globally, getting perfect scores for three benchmarks - electoral fairness and pluralism, political participation and civil liberties.

'Asia and...

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