KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — Malaysian passport was ranked the eighth best in the world for travellers in a recent survey, based on the number of visa-free countries its holders can travel to out of 174 destinations.
According to the 2014 Visa Restrictions Index, holders of Malaysian passports can travel to 166 countries without visas; compared to Finland, Germany, Sweden, USA and the United Kingdom passports which can access all 174 destinations visa-free.
“In today’s globalised world, visa restrictions play an important role in controlling the movement of foreign nationals across borders. Almost all countries now require visas from certain non-nationals who wish to enter their territory,” said Henley & Partners, a global consulting firm in international residence and citizenship planning, which held the survey.
“Visa requirements are also an expression of the relationships between individual nations, and generally reflect the relations and status of a country within the international community of nations,” it said in a statement.
In comparison, a Singaporean passport allows visa-free travel to 170 countries, placing the island republic at fifth place together with New Zealand and Switzerland.
Malaysia shared its ranking with Malta, jumping one ranking from last year when Malaysian passport holders could only go to 163 countries without a visa.
Malaysia was ranked 14th in the 2012 index with visa-free travel to only 153 countries.
Malaysia and Singapore were the only two Southeast Asian countries to make the top 10 in the 2014 index.
Meanwhile, other Southeast Asian countries on the list are Brunei at the 17th spot (visa-free travel to 150 countries), Thailand at 62nd (69 countries), the Philippines at 68th (62 countries), Indonesia at 72nd (56 countries), Laos at 80th (48 countries), Vietnam at 81st (47 countries), and Myanmar at 86th (42 countries).
The worst passport in the world for travellers to hold is from Afghanistan, ranked at number 94th, as it allows visa-free entry to just 28 countries, followed by Iraq (31 countries), and Pakistan and Somalia at 32 countries each.