Malaysia ranked ‘partly free’

By Shannon Teoh, The Malaysian Insider

Malaysia was ranked ‘partly free’ in terms of political rights and civil liberties with Indonesia the only country in Southeast Asia to be ranked ‘free’ for 2010 in a report released by US-based freedom watchdog Freedom House yesterday. 

On a scale of one to seven, with one being the best score, Malaysia obtained a four for both political rights and civil liberties while Indonesia managed a two and three respectively. 

Malaysia edged out Singapore (5, 4) in the Freedom of the World 2011 assessment while Burma obtained the worst possible rating of seven for both categories which resulted in the tag of “Worst of the Worst.” 

Other countries that scored two fours were Honduras and Nepal while Australia, Belgium, Germany, the US and UK were among those that obtained the best possible score of two ones. 

North Korea and Somalia were among eight other countries that joined Burma at the bottom of the rankings. 

A ‘partly free’ country is one in which there is limited respect for political rights and civil liberties, said Freedom House in its summary report released early this morning. 

“Partly Free states frequently suffer from an environment of corruption, weak rule of law, ethnic and religious strife, and a political landscape in which a single party enjoys dominance despite a certain degree of pluralism,” it said. 

The combined average ratings of both political rights and civil liberties determines the overall status with ‘free’ being 1.0 to 2.5, ‘partly free’ between 3.0 to 5.0 and ‘not free’ at 5.5 to 7.0. 

The report also aggregates total scores of political rights and civil liberties into a scale of 100 where Malaysia showed a net improvement of between 1 to 4 points since the 2007 report. 

The 70-year-old organisation did not release full details of how the 194 countries and 14 territories it assessed performed in its study but said the full report with country assessments will be published in spring this year.