Malaysia slips down Democracy Index

Aidila Razak
Jan 6, 11

Malaysia has taken a slight tumble down the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2010 Democracy Index, slipping three places to number 71 out of 167 countries, with its overall score dropping from 6.36 points in 2008 to 6.19 last year.

This places Malaysia squarely in the “flawed democracy” category, along with 52 other countries that received overall scores of between 6 and 7.9 out of a maximum of 10 points.

Flawed democracies are countries that have “free and fair elections” and respect “basic civil liberties”, but face “problems such as infringements on media freedom”.

Such countries also have “significant weaknesses in other aspects of democracy, including problems in governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation”, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) index shows.

The score is an average of points garnered in five different categories: electoral processes and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning government, political participation and political culture.

Scoring is based on expert assessment and public opinion surveys through the World Values Survey, Eurobarometer surveys, Gallup polls, Asian Barometer, Latin Barometer, Afrobarometer and national surveys, as well as voter turnout and predominance of the legislative branch over the executive.

The EIU recorded concern over political participation and civil liberties in Malaysia, giving these categories fairly poor scores of 5.56 and 5.88 points respectively.

However, Malaysia pulled a respectable 6.79 points for a functioning government, while its electoral processes received 6.5 points and political culture scored slightly lower at 6.25.

The EIU describes the the political situation in Malaysia as a “fierce political tussle” between BN and Pakatan Rakyat, which it expects to continue in the near future.

Media freedom wanting

Political cultures in Asia, it notes, are “often underdeveloped and shallow”, even in countries considered to be democracies.

Special mention was made of the deterioration of media freedom in Malaysia, placing it beside Fiji, Sri Lanka and Thailand, where there is “often pressure on the independent media”.

“The reasons for this decline are complex and varied. Underlying negative trends appear to have been exacerbated by the post-2008 economic crisis.

“Many governments have felt increasingly vulnerable and threatened, and have reacted by intensifying their efforts to control the media and impede free expression,” the report states.

Topping the index is Norway, with an overall score of 9.8, while South Korea leads Asia in the index at 20th spot, with 8.11 points.

Southeast Asia’s youngest nation Timor Leste leads the region at number 42 (7.22 points) while Thailand comes up tops among Asean countries at 57th spot (6.55) followed by Indonesia, which is ranked 60th (6.53).

Nevertheless, Malaysia trumped Singapore by 19 places. With a dismal 5.89 points, the island-state was ranked 82nd,, making it to the “hybrid regime” where “elections have substantial irregularities that often prevent them from being both free and fair”.

Other countries ahead of Malaysia on the index include Botswana (35th at 7.63 points), Papua New Guinea (59th at 6.54 points), Mongolia (64th at 6.36 points) and Namibia (69th at 6.23 points).

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Friday, 7 January 2011 - 11:08 am

    Just look at the events which have taken place recently – Teoh Beng Hock’s open verdict, forcing of Khusrin down MB’s throat, a worsening corruption perception index and a slipping democracy index. These are signs that the country is descending into rogue Zambabwe-ism.

  2. #2 by k1980 on Friday, 7 January 2011 - 11:24 am

    This index is manipulated by the west. Malaysia need only agree to send troops to fight alongside nato in afpak and presto! its rankings will shoot up by 50 places!

  3. #3 by Godfather on Friday, 7 January 2011 - 12:36 pm

    I don’t think we should make such a big issue out of this. I can tell that it hasn’t affected my neighbour cintanegara who is squatting under his rambutan tree and smoking his hand-rolled joint.

  4. #4 by House Victim on Friday, 7 January 2011 - 5:09 pm

    What should be given to PK?
    When more than 10 emails to CM, Departments Heads, Adun, DAP leader cannot even get a confirmation of receipt? Except from the head of PTG who “gladly” said he cannot registered a application of Claim to an illegal and invalid title issued to Sime on part of the Land of Subang Town Park? When NLC stipulated that it is their duty to do so?


    PK, have you contribute to the Democracy of Malaysia when BN acts more than Bully??

  5. #5 by sotong on Saturday, 8 January 2011 - 10:06 am

    Everybody knows there is no real democracy in the island state…..there are opportunity but keep out of politics.

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