KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 — Malaysia’s ranking in the World Justice Project’s (WJP) Rule of Law Index for 2020 has gone up four rungs, or 5.1 per cent, compared to last year, putting it in 47th place out of 128 countries and jurisdictions worldwide.
The country’s score also means it places seventh out of 15 countries in the East Asia and Pacific region, and 12th out of 42 upper middle income countries.
The index is based on national surveys of over 130,000 households and 4,000 legal practitioners and experts worldwide, measuring the rule of law performance across eight primary factors.
These include constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice and criminal justice.
Significant trends for Malaysia, according to the index, included an improvement in the factors measuring constraints on government powers, fundamental rights, regulatory enforcement and civil justice.
The region’s top performer is New Zealand, which ranked seventh out of all 128 countries worldwide, followed by Australia and Singapore.
Meanwhile, the three countries with the lowest scores in the region were the Philippines, Myanmar and Cambodia at 127th out of 128 countries worldwide.
Globally, Northern Europe topped the index rankings for 2020, with Denmark, Norway and Finland occupying the top spots, while Venezuela, Cambodia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo had the lowest overall rule of law scores, which have remained unchanged since 2019.
Although some countries have improved in terms of rule of law alongside Malaysia, such as Ethiopia at 5.6 per cent and driven primarily by gains in constraints on government powers and fundamental rights, more countries declined than improved for a third year in a row, the index found.
Its authors said this demonstrated the continuation of a negative slide toward weakening and stagnating rule of law globally, with the majority of countries showing deteriorating rule of law in the 2020 Index also having declined in the previous year, demonstrating a persistent downward trend which is particularly apparent on the constraints on government powers factor.
In every region, a majority of countries slipped backward or remained unchanged in their overall rule of law performance since the 2019 index.
The largest declines in the rule of law for 2020 include Cameroon, down by 4.4 per cent and Iran by 4.2 per cent.
The WJP Rule of Law Index is the world’s leading source for original, independent data on the rule of law. Now covering 128 countries and jurisdictions, the Index relies on more than 130,000 household surveys and 4,000 legal practitioner and expert surveys to measure how the rule of law is experienced and perceived worldwide.
The WJP is an independent, multidisciplinary organisation working to create knowledge, build awareness, and stimulate action to advance the rule of law worldwide.