PETALING JAYA: A Malaysian passport holder has visa-free access to 151 countries, making it the eighth most powerful passport in the world in the Passport Index 2016.
The ranking by the World Economic Forum puts Malaysia on par with countries such as Iceland, Australia and Malta.
The index ranked passports according to countries that can be visited without applying for a visa.
In comparison with other Asean countries, Brunei passport holders (ranked 20) have visa-free access to 136 countries, Thailand (55) to 72 countries, the Philippines (63) to 62 and Indonesia (69) to 56 nations.
Vietnam and Cambodia passports (both ranked 74) have access to 51 countries.
The top ranking went to Germany and Sweden, whose passport holders are able to visit 158 countries without a visa.
Last year, the United States and Britain shared the top spot but have fallen to fourth and second place respectively.
Singapore is also ranked fourth (together with the US), enabling its passport holders to travel visa-free to 155 countries.
The “least powerful passports” are those from conflict zones such as Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, whose holders can only travel to 24 countries visa-free.
Meanwhile, Malaysia is ranked 19th in the world as the most welcoming country to foreigners, for providing visa-free travel to the country ahead of Singapore, Britain, Germany and the United States which are ranked at 20, 46, 49, and 78 respectively.
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