Malaysian passport second most powerful in Southeast Asia, ranked 12th globally

The Malaysian passport has climbed up the ranks to become the second most powerful in Southeast Asia
The New Paper

The verdict is in – the Malaysian passport has climbed up the ranks to become the second most powerful in Southeast Asia, granting its holders visa-free travel to 166 countries.

Coming in 12th globally, it was also the only other Southeast Asian country to earn a spot in the top 20 global rankings, revealed the 2018 Henley Passport Index released today (Jan 10).

2018 Henley Passport Index

Singapore clinched the top position in Southeast Asia with with visa-free access to 176 countries (second place globally), while Germany retained its global leading position for the fifth year running boasting visa-free access to 177 countries.

The annual rankings are based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), in-house research and 13 years of historical data.

Of the 199 countries featured in the index, 143 improved their rank over the past year while 41 countries maintained their position. Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam were among the countries that moved up the ranks in the past year.

A separate ranking developed by global financial advisory Arton Capital placed Singapore in first place overall in Oct last year.

In the same ranking, Malaysia came in sixth – on par with the United States, Ireland and Canada.

Mr Dominic Volek, managing partner of Henley & Partners Singapore and head of Southeast Asia, said: “From a macroeconomic perspective, global mobility and migration will always make sense. However, there continues to be challenges around this hot-button issue that needs to be effectively addressed.”

According to him, access, connectivity and shared prosperity are factors driving the need for greater travel freedom.