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Maintaining Malaysia’s International Property Rights Score

The recent release of International Property Rights Index (IPRI) showed that Malaysia retained its status quo for the year 2011. The Washington-based Property Rights Alliance annual comparative study which produced the IPRI report takes into consideration the strength and intellectual property rights, and rank countries accordingly. In its own words, the “International Property Rights Index helps illustrate the vital role property rights play in generating material well being”. It is noted that higher property rights scoring is related to the higher lifestyle and economic status of the country.There are many factors taken into consideration when it comes to the comparative study. The sources used in the generation of this report include:A. Legal and Political Sources

Judicial Independence – this reflects the question about whether the judiciary in the country is independent from political influence of members of government, citizens or firms. The source for this data comes from World Economic Forum – Global Competitiveness Report.
Rule of Law – it combines several indicators, including judicial independence, the respect for law in relations between a country’s citizen and the administration, property rights, citizen confidence in the police force, the enforceability of contracts, direct financial fraud, law and order, and it also measures the existence of the rule of law.
Political stability – indicators include the measure perceptions of the likelihood of a destabilization of the government in power, or overthrown by some unconstitutional factors that may include violent measures, including domestic violence and terrorism.
Control of Corruption – The source comes from the World Bank Institute – Governance Matters 2010: Worldwide Governance Indicators between 1996 to 2009. It combines several indicators including whether public power is exercised for private gain, regardless of whether it is a petty or grand form of corruption, and the ‘capture’ of the state by elites and private interests.B. Physical Property Rights

Property Rights – The source for this comes from the World Economic Forum – Global Competitiveness Report. It is a survey which details participant’s comment on the property rights in the country, including over financial assets.
Registering Property – It looks into the number of procedures legally required for the registration of properties, and how much time is required to complete the procedures. This indicator is used to measure the standard case of an entrepreneur who wish to purchase land and a building in the largest business city. The source for this indicator comes from the World Bank Group – Doing Business 2011.
Ease of Access to Loans – Participants of the World Economic Forum survey is asked how easily they are able to obtain a bank loan in their country with only a good business plan and no collateral.C. Intellectual Property Rights Sources

Intellectual Property Protection – this survey requires participants to comment on the intellectual property protection and anti-counterfeiting measures taken by their countries.
Patent Protection – This source indicates a country’s rank in patent strength which is based on five criteria: coverage, membership in international treaties, restrictions in international treaties, restrictions on patent rights, enforcement and duration of protection. The source for this factor is from the Ginarte-Park Index of Patent Rights.
Copyright Piracy Level – It is based on the International Intellectual Property Alliance’s Special 301 Report which was submitted to the US Trade Representative. The Special 301 is an annual review process used in fighting international copyright piracy.A fourth consideration of the study includes variables regarding Gender Equality, viewing the rights of women in different countries pertaining to rights, ease and access to properties and credit. The source for this factor comes from the OECD Gender, Institutions and Development Database (GID-DB), using 60 indicators related to gender discrimination using a variety of sources.

Women’s Access to Land Ownership
Women’s Access to Bank Loans
Women’s Access to Property Other than land
Inheritance practices
Women’s Social RightsMalaysia’s score in IPRI remains unchanged for 2011. The Legal and Political factor fell 0.1 points due to a small drop in Political Stability and Control of Corruption. However, Judicial Independence and Rule of Law improved significantly. Meanwhile, Physical Property Rights increased slightly due to the Registering Property. The Copyright Piracy was unchanged, but improvements to the professional opinions cause Protection of Intellectual Property increased to give a 0.1 point gain in the Intellectual Property Rights. Overall, Malaysia ranked at position 44 worldwide, and stands at the 8th position regionally.Finland and Sweden stayed at the top with 8.5 points out of 10, and Finland is in its fifth year being at the top position in the ranks even though its score dropped slightly from last year which was 8.6 points. Singapore is the top scoring country in Asia and Oceana region with 8.3 points. Meanwhile, Bangladesh is at the lowest rank with just 3.6 points.