23/11: Malaysia 81 on list of flawed democracies
Category: General Posted by: Raja Petra
Jacqueline Ann Surin
Malaysia is a "flawed democracy" and falls nearly at the bottom of the list, below Mongolia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia, Timor Leste and Palestine in a new Democracy Index developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
The index, which is available in The Economist's annual publication The World in 2007, grades 167 countries out of 192 independent states according to their degree of democracy.
The index looks at 60 indicators across the five categories of electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation, and political culture.
Countries are spread across four regime types Ð full democracies (28 countries), flawed democracies (54), hybrid regimes (30) and authoritarian regimes (55).
"Sweden leads the pack with a near-perfect score followed closely by Iceland and the Netherlands.
"By contrast, the United States (ranked 17th), Britain (23rd) and France (24th) are near the bottom of the full democracy category," a press statement from The Economist said.
South Africa leads the "flawed democracy" category at 29th position, followed by South Korea at 31, Taiwan 32, India 35, Mongolia 56, Sri Lanka 57, the Philippines 63, Indonesia 65, Timor Leste 65, Bangladesh 75, Hongkong 78 and Palestine 79.
Malaysia ranks 81, sharing the spot with Bolivia at the bottom of the category.
The statement said "flawed democracies" were concentrated in Latin America and eastern Europe.
"Many of these countries remain fragile democracies. Levels of political participation are generally very low and democratic cultures are weak," it said.
Malaysia, however, remains ahead of Singapore (84), Thailand (90) and Cambodia (105) which fall under the "hybrid regimes" category, of which Iraq (112) anchors.
Pakistan (113) tops the list of "authoritarian regimes" while North Korea ranks last. In between are China (138), Vietnam (145), Laos (155) and Myanmar (163).
The Economist said more than half of the world's population lived in a democracy of some sort, although only 13% reside in full democracies.
"Despite the advances in democracy in recent decades, almost 40% of the world's population still live under authoritarian rule," it said.
It added that after decades of progress, the most recent global trends in democratisation have been negative, signalling a pause in the spread of democracy.