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Populous Indonesia defends democracy index that is behind Malaysia

Jakarta Globe - August 7, 2023

Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Indonesia's democracy index falls behind that of its close neighbor Malaysia. However, a senior minister on Monday attributed Malaysia's higher scores to its population size which is significantly smaller compared to Indonesia.

The Economist Intelligence Unit recently released its 2022 Democracy Index report. As the name suggests, the report provides a snapshot of a country's state of democracy and scores it on the scale of 0 to 10.

The 2022 Democracy Index report gave Indonesia an overall score of 6.71: the same as what the country had gotten the previous year. Malaysia's scores rose from 7.24 in 2021 to 7.30 in 2022. The regional average score for Asia & Australasia in 2022 remains the same as in the previous year: namely at 5.46 points.

"I do not agree with the [Democracy Index] scores because the population [of each country] widely differs.... Malaysia scored 7.30, but its population size is less than that of West Java," Chief Economic Affairs Minister Airlangga Hartarto told a Democracy Dialogue forum in Jakarta on Monday.

"Timor Leste's [democracy index scores] reached 7.06. Of course, the number of people in Timor Leste is much less than in some provinces in Indonesia," Airlangga said.

National elections in the neighboring countries are comparable to mayoral or gubernatorial elections in Indonesia, he said.

According to the National Statistics Agency (BPS), Indonesia is home to 269.6 million people as of 2020. West Java has a population of around 49.6 million. The Malaysian government reported that the country's population was estimated at 32.7 million as of 2022. Timor Leste's population stands at 1.3 million people, its 2022 census data shows.

The 2022 Democracy Index encompasses 60 indicators that fall under five groups. Indonesia's scores across these five categories are the following: electoral process and pluralism (7.92); functioning of government (7.86); political participation (7.22); political culture (4.38); civil liberties (6.18). This brings Indonesia's overall score to 6.71.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/populous-indonesia-defends-democracy-index-that-is-behind-malaysi