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Malaysia debuts on Social Progress Index 2014 ranking with a strong showing

The nation ranks top among ASEAN partners

Kuala Lumpur, 23 April 2014 – Malaysia, as a new entrant to the Social Progress Index (‘SPI’) in 2014, ranks 45th out of 132 countries measured in the Index with an SPI score of 70.00. According to this year’s SPI, the 2nd edition of this annual study, Malaysia, with a reported GDP per capita of USD 14,822 (at PPP), ranks top among the ASEAN states that were analysed: the Philippines (56), Thailand (59), Indonesia (88), Laos (98) and Cambodia (100). Malaysia is also ahead of emerging economic powerhouses like India (102), China (90), Russia (80), Turkey (64) and Brazil (46).

The SPI, created by a team led by Professor Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School, is designed as a complement to GDP and other economic indicators to provide a more holistic understanding of countries’ overall performance. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited is a co-supporter of this Index. The top ranking countries for 2014 saw a surprise with New Zealand topping the Index ahead of Switzerland, Iceland, the Netherlands and Norway with traditional economic powers like Germany (12th), the UK (13th), Japan (14th) and the United States (16th) far behind.

This year, for the first time, each country’s performance was also compared to 15 other countries with a similar level of economic development, based on GDP per capita – as GDP per capita often shows a strong correlation to societal progress. For this analysis, Malaysia’s economic peers in the SPI are Russia, Panama, Botswana, Uruguay, Latvia, Chile, Turkey, Croatia, Belarus, Mexico, Mauritius, Hungary, Lebanon, Bulgaria and Kazakhstan.

Compared to this peer group of 15 countries, Malaysia has performed relatively well on the underlying measures of ‘Basic Human Needs’, particularly in the area of ‘Shelter’. It has also done well in the measures of ‘Foundation of Wellbeing’, in the areas of ‘Health and Wellness’ and ‘Ecosystem Sustainability’.

However based on the SPI 2014, compared to the countries in its peer group, Malaysia could do better in areas under the ‘Opportunity’ measurement, such as ‘Personal Rights’, ‘Personal Freedom and Choice’ and ‘Tolerance and Inclusion’.

Key global highlights include:

  • New Zealand is this year’s top performing country.
  • The Netherlands is the best performing country in European Union.
  • Canada is the best performing G8 country.
  • Slovenia and Estonia are Europe’s big success story, scoring better than France, Spain and Italy. Of the big EU countries Italy is a big under-performer, also coming in behind former Soviet bloc countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.
  • Costa Rica and Uruguay are the star performers in Latin America.
  • Brazil is the top of the BRICS, followed by: South Africa, Russia, China, and India.
  • Apart from Brazil, the BRICs are all significant under-performers on social progress, suggesting that, for China and India in particular, rapid economic growth is not yet being converted into better lives for their citizens.

The top five:

  1. New Zealand – scores particularly well on political rights, access to modern communications and school enrollment. This achievement is particularly impressive given that New Zealand’s GDP per capita is $25,875* (just 25th globally).
  2. Switzerland – scores well on ecosystem sustainability, personal safety, life expectancy, and religious freedoms.
  3. Iceland – scores consistently well across all categories, particularly on tolerance and inclusion and on access to information and communications. Like New Zealand this result is impressive – over-performing against its GDP per capita of $33,880* (13th globally).
  4. Netherlands – scores well on water and sanitation, access to information and communications, ecosystem sustainability, and political rights.
  5. Norway – scores well on personal safety, internet users, press freedoms, and basic medical care.

For more information on the Social Progress Index, click here. To view the full 2014 results, click here.


Ving Sung
Deloitte Malyasia
Job Title:
Marketing & Communications
+60 3 7723 6610
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