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Malaysia most peaceful in S-E Asia

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/7/23/nation/9159917&sec=nation

Saturday July 23, 2011
Malaysia most peaceful in S-E Asia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has been ranked the most peaceful country in South-East Asia and the fourth safest in the Asia-Pacific behind New Zealand, Japan and Australia.

It is also the 19th safest and peaceful out of 153 countries in the world.

The ranking by Global Peace Index (GPI) is the first time that Malaysia has been placed that high since 2007.

It is also one of the six non-European nations making the top 20 list. The other five are Iceland, New Zealand, Japan, Qatar and Australia.

The findings were published in the fifth edition of the survey by the Sydney-based Institute for Economics and Peace.

In 2007, Malaysia was ranked 37th. It fell to the 38th place in 2008 but improved in the next three years from 26th in 2009 to 22nd last year and moved up to 19th now.

The index contains 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators, combining factors such as military expenditure, relations with neighbouring countries and the level of respect for human rights.

These indicators were selected by an international panel of academicians, businessmen, philanthropists and members of peace organisations in the past one year.

“Malaysia’s growing peacefulness reflected a rise in political stability and improving relations with neighbouring countries, notably Singapore and China,” it said.

The top 10 placements were Iceland as the most peaceful country, followed by New Zealand, Japan, Denmark, Czech Republic, Austria, Finland, Canada, Norway and Slovenia.

The survey said that war-torn Somalia dropped one spot to replace Iraq as the country ranked least at peace.

Political scientist Prof Dr Ahmad Atory Hussain said Malaysians should recognise such rankings as it was internationally conducted and respected.

“We should strive for an even higher target now. Perhaps by 2020 we should be in the top 10,” he said. – Bernama

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