Malaysia becomes rich ‘Tiger Cub’, but still intolerant

The Malaysian Insider
Nov 01, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 ― Malaysia has been singled out together with Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia as “Tiger Cub” countries fast catching up with regional leaders on a list of the most prosperous economies in the world, but was also named as among the worst countries for promoting personal freedom of its citizens.

Malaysia was ranked as the 45th most prosperous nation, trailing behind Singapore at 19th and with Indonesia fast catching up at 63rd position, on the Legatum Prosperity Index.

The London-based think-tank Legatum’s Prosperity Index assesses 142 countries based on performance in eight areas such as economy, personal freedom, health and social capital.

This year, Norway again topped the list of 142 countries, followed by Denmark, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand. The United States, the United Kingdom and Germany came in at 12th, 13th and 14th spots, respectively.

The Central African Republic propped up the list.

The Legatum Institute, which publishes the index, noted that “a new generation of Asian ‘Tiger Cub’ countries has emerged, according to the latest findings from the Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index, with Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia all appearing in top half of the worldwide rankings this year.”

Said Jeffrey Gedmin, president and CEO of the Legatum Institute: “The Legatum Prosperity Index allows us to paint a comprehensive picture of what makes a country truly successful, encompassing traditional measures of material wealth, as well as capturing citizens’ sense of wellbeing ― from how safe they feel, to their perceived personal freedom.

“It is encouraging to see a new generation of promising economies come to the fore in this year’s Index. However, GDP alone can never offer a complete view of prosperity.

“In order for these Tiger Cubs to fulfil their full potential and continue to scale the global prosperity rankings, leaders in these countries must overcome the barriers that remain ― encouraging tolerance, providing top quality education and distributing wealth more equally amongst citizens.”

For the first time, Malaysia was ranked among the top 15 countries in the world in the economy sub-sector of the index, together with five other Asian powerhouses Singapore (3rd), Taiwan (7th), Hong Kong ((9th), China (11th) and Japan (12th). Malaysia propped up the top 15 countries while Switzerland was the top economy.

The index noted that one metric capable of shedding light on the rise of the Asian “Tiger Cubs” nations was the level of FDI flowing into each country.

“This is because FDI, when managed appropriately, can be a source of economic growth…the ‘Tiger Cubs’, Thailand and Indonesia are the biggest recipients of FDI. In terms of FDI as a share of GDP, however, Vietnam outperforms the other ‘Tiger Cubs’ as FDI net inflows constitute almost 8 per cent of its GDP.

“However…tertiary education enrolment rates among the ‘Tiger Cubs’ are much lower than OECD standards. To meet the need of the increasingly globalised economy, the ‘Tiger Cubs’ must encourage further education so as to produce the skills necessary to increase productivity.”

However, Malaysia was let down by personal freedom — its worst-performing indicator — ranking only 111th in the sub-index. For social capital, Malaysia also scored poorly at 100th position.

The Personal Freedom sub-index captures the effects of freedom of choice, expression, movement, and belief, on a country’s per capita GDP and the subjective wellbeing of its citizens. It also assesses how levels of tolerance of ethnic minorities and immigrants impact countries’ economic growth and citizens’ life satisfaction.

Societies that foster strong civil rights and freedoms have been shown to enjoy increases in levels of satisfaction among their citizens. When citizens’ personal liberties are protected, a country benefits from higher levels of national income.

This social capital sub-index evaluates how factors such as volunteering, helping strangers, and donating to charitable organisations impact economic performance and life satisfaction. It also measures levels of trust, whether citizens believe they can rely on others, and assesses how marriage and religious attendance provide support networks beneficial to wellbeing.

Noting the need for balance, the institute said the high-growth markets of China, Malaysia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam scored well in the economy sub-index but rank amongst the worst countries for promoting and safeguarding the “personal freedom” of their citizens.

  1. #1 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 1 November 2012 - 2:37 pm

    What is the point of being classified as a ‘rich’ ‘tiger cub’ when you are not free ?

    Does the people feel ‘rich’ ? Why the need for BR1M 1 and 2 and other hand-outs ? These are really symptoms that all is not well.

    Does the people feel ‘free’ or are we really shackled on all fronts ?

  2. #2 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Thursday, 1 November 2012 - 4:29 pm

    First, Malaysia missed joining the 4 tigers of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea and Singapore (all chopstick countries, BTW) decades ago when Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand were still developing countries.

    Now, with the rapid development of these 3 developing countries in the past decade, Malaysia is relegated to join them as tiger cubs.

    10 years from now, Malaysia will be joining the likes of Laos Myanmar and Cambodia as kittens.

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Thursday, 1 November 2012 - 6:16 pm

    Malaysia was the second richest country in Asia after Japan in the 1960s. It is unthinkable that four decades later, the country has regressed to the rank of Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.

  4. #4 by tak tahan on Thursday, 1 November 2012 - 8:01 pm

    After few donkey decades governed by the Umno/BN’s racist policy Malaysia was turned into Malu-sial betul!ABU!

  5. #5 by Noble House on Friday, 2 November 2012 - 1:12 am

    Tiger Cub? I wonder what the mathematics genius son of that hudud slayer has to say about this? He may want to argue that Malaysia performance should be nothing less than a ‘Tiger’…………. just like his father!

  6. #6 by waterfrontcoolie on Friday, 2 November 2012 - 6:19 am

    Notwithstanding the fact that the nation is endowed with so many Goodies which UMNO thought should be only preserved for their version of Malays. In fact most of the natural goodies are being siphoned out by many artificially created Malays leaving the majority of them blinkered for the next few generations. Many pious Malays are being hoodwinked to live a simple life when the UMNO Sharks swallowed and stashed away all the Goodies overseas. They are so used to open corruption that it has become their Rights to do so. How would you explain that the little DOT today has 800% higher per capital income than we have? us$56 K versus us$8 K. Of course, the Mamak will explain away this discrepancy by mere population size. He just refuse to conclude that BN had squandered it away through Corruption! We can argue until the cow comes home, they won’t be any changes except when they no longer stay at PUTRAJAYA. The rural poor must be exposed to All the corrupt practices. There is no need to insult individual BN leaders just raise the issues related to wantonness in the election rallies!

  7. #7 by Jeffrey on Friday, 2 November 2012 - 6:43 am

    Malaysia is a blessed country in many ways in terms of abundant natural resources, cultural diversity absence of natural disasters etc but unfortunate in terms of steady decline per measurement against whatever international indices -Legatum Prosperity, Times Higher Education, Press Freedom, Corruption Indices etc- due to but only one basic problem since independence, which over 50 years have intensified rather than ameliorated – its communal politics of race & religion. Nothing else. At independence UMNO political elites have leveraged on what they perceived then – and still perceive now- the collective anxieties/insecurities of the Malay majority constituency of being politically socially and economically marginalised by the then substantial “pendatang” given citizenship, so policies are put in place to give effect to the majority group’s historical entitlement by which implementation and results are not viewed positive by those (culturally bias westerners) who do these surveys by their so called democratic, equality transparent accountable standards.

  8. #8 by Jeffrey on Friday, 2 November 2012 - 6:48 am

    Even today political leadership is indifferent to these international judgments. Mainly the elite have built their personal privileges and vested interests around these policies. So even if the tipping point were crossed to the extent that minorities are now politically socially and economically marginalized, the pro majority policies are continued to be argued relevant by the elites, more for self and vested interest than anything else; they want to believe that there’s still ample reservoir of such anxiety/insecurities amongst their traditional majority constituency delivering votes to continue- nay to intensify- such policies & their symbols (Ketuanan) to the extent that per next GE they are prepared to galvanise exclusive support from this majority segment and “go solo” even without traditional BN multiracial MCA/Gerakan/MIC etc support to help defend against and defeat the Opposition. True, effective, relevant or not, this view point, let’s see in next GE. But fact remains- the nation has become divided, more than ever, national healing distant. Whether applied to nation or an individual, to be happy and prosperous, to progress and improve, to compete, one got to overcome/get rid of the greatest set- back and shackle – ie insecurities. Otherwise there’s no way out but the inexorable course in steady deterioration of one’s overall condition.

  9. #9 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Friday, 2 November 2012 - 8:49 am

    The little tigers (or dragons, whatever) of yesterday have all left the pack and joined the league of developed nations. Well, yeah all except one. The one that never seems to grow up, somehow, despite having loads of food at home.

  10. #10 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Friday, 2 November 2012 - 10:56 am

    Not only that the little fella have not grown, it has actually got dependant on crutches to move about.

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