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Published: Friday December 27, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday December 27, 2013 MYT 11:13:29 AM

Low risk of social unrest in Malaysia, says EIU survey

PETALING JAYA: A research arm of international business magazine The Economist has rated Malaysia as a low risk country in terms of social unrest, a finding some experts here agree with.

Surveying 150 countries, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranked Malaysia among 31 countries with a low or very low risk of national instability, on par with Singapore.

In comparison, neighbouring Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines were marked as medium to high risk of social unrest.

EIU country forecasting services director Laza Kekic cited economic problems, coupled with poor political decisions and other factors, as leading to these risks.

Wide income inequality, poor government, ethnic tensions, low levels of social provision and a history of unrest were other contributors.

“Economic distress is almost a necessary condition for serious social or political instability, but it is not a sufficient one,” he said on The Economist website.

The EIU, he said, noted a “deep sense” of dissatisfaction with the political elite and institutions in emerging markets.

Nearly half (43%) of the countries surveyed were set as high or very high risk, including Bangladesh and Cambodia.

Universiti Malaya Law Assoc Prof Dr Azmi Sharom said economically, Malaysia was relatively prosperous, adding that public disaffection was quite rare.

“We don’t have that driving force of hunger, which is the reason why public displays of anger in some countries are so strong and persistent,” he said, when contacted.

He said countries that had more avenues for democracy and human rights to flourish had less chaos, adding protests in Malaysia in recent years did not count as social unrest.

Political analyst Khoo Kay Peng said Malaysia did not suffer from a history of unrest and that both the Government and the people were quite restrained in reacting against each other.

“Credit should go to both the authorities and the public. We’re averse to violence.

“By and large, demonstrations are peaceful, and we’ve also learned as a society not to provoke certain kinds of emotions,” he said.

Tags / Keywords: Politics, Government, social unrest, the economist


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