KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 — Ahead of the 14th general elections, Malaysia was found to have scored better than Singapore but worse than the Philippines and Bangladesh in a 2018 study measuring the electoral freedom of some 198 countries.
In the inaugural World Electoral Freedom Index (WEFI) released last week, Malaysia scored 61.95 out of 100 points and was ranked 125 worldwide, behind several other countries like Bangladesh (107), Libya (106) and the Philippines (41).
In South-east Asia, Malaysia performed better than Singapore, which was ranked at 173rd place with 54.21 points.
Thailand placed third-last with 13.84 points and Brunei bottomed out among Asean members with 4.52 points.
The study by Freedom House ranks countries based on four components: Passive Suffrage Freedom (PSFI), Political Development (PDI), Active Suffrage Freedom (ASFI) and Elector Empowerment (EEI).
Of these, Malaysia was placed under the “insufficient” category, and performed the worst in the EEI index.
The EEI index measures the degree of election effectiveness, direct decision-making procedures by the electorate, political pluralism, real power of the representatives and capacity to oust them, and integrity of the political process.
Think tank IDEAS’ democracy and governance coordinator Aira Azhari said the ranking was disappointing and that it did not reflect positively for a nation that is gearing towards a general election.
“This weak performance should send signals to both sides of the political divide that they need to commit to good and transparent governance, and in particular whoever forms the next government must commit to fixing the weaknesses in our electoral system.
“The low ranking in the EEI category is an indication that our participatory democracy is very weak. We must address this urgently,” he said in a statement.