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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – Malaysia ranked 33rd out of 131 countries globally in the 2013 International Property Rights Index (IPRI), released today by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) in partnership with the Property Rights Alliance in Washington DC.

The IPRI measures the intellectual and physical property rights and their protection for economic well-being. The IPRI uses three components of property rights to create a composite score: Legal & Political Environment (LP), Physical Property Rights (PPR), and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

Malaysia’s IPRI score remains unchanged from 2012 at 6.5 points. It is disappointing that our index scores remain stagnant, whereas neighbouring countries Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Brunei all recorded increases in index scores of up to 0.2. Malaysia ranks 7th in the Asian region, below China, Hong Kong, India, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The IPRI emphasizes the great economic differences between countries with strong property rights and those without. Malaysia in the second quintile has an average GDP per capita of US$26,680, whereas nations in the top quintile like Finland and Australia enjoy an average national GDP per capita of US$38,288.

Individual scores in key components of intellectual property rights (from 1 to 10 where a higher value indicates a higher level of protection of property rights):

 Legal and Political Environment: fell to 5.7 from 5.8 in the last year’s report
 Physical Property Rights: rose to 7.7 from 7.5
 Intellectual Property Rights: fell to 6.1 from 6.2

Although there was no change in the overall score from 2012 to 2013, this year we achieved a lower score in two categories. The decline in the Legal and Political Environment component is because both ‘Control of Corruption’ and ‘Judicial Independence’ had very small increases in scores. Intellectual Property Rights also declined due to a drop in ‘Protection of Intellectual Property Rights’.

In the ongoing TPPA negotiations, Malaysia’s position is to proposal to provide extended protection for patent owners. This may have an impact on the score IPR protection.

“Whilst we are pleased to note the increase in protection of physical property rights, this is only because of the increase in the numbers of registered properties. What is of greater concern is the slight decline in the control of corruption, judicial independence and protection of intellectual property rights.

These three elements are crucial in supporting private property, a freer economy, and a democratic society. The right to property ensures the voluntary transfer of assets, resulting in exchange and economic growth, and this would make Malaysia a more attractive place to invest in, live and work”, said IDEAS Chief Executive, Wan Saiful Wan Jan.

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