How peaceful is Singapore?
According to the Institute for Economics and Peace report on the Global Peace Index (GPI) released on 17 June, Singapore’s state of peace is “very high”, ranking 24th out of 162 countries in the global index. This is a rise from the 25th place in 2014.
In the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, Singapore comes in fourth, one place ahead of neighbouring Malaysia, which ranks 28th in the global index. Singapore and Malaysia are the only two Southeast Asian (SEA) countries that are within the top five in the Asia Pacific rankings. The top three are New Zealand, Japan and Australia.
Laos, another SEA country, is seventh in the APAC rankings, with the global ranking of 41, while Philippines is the lowest SEA country in the APAC rankings, coming in 18th out of 19 countries.
The GPI is an annual report by the Institute for Economics and Peace. It measures the peacefulness in each country based on three major factors: On-going domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society, and militarization.
The report for this year shows an increasingly divided world, with Europe’s peacefulness reaching a record high, while, at the other end of the spectrum, the Middle East is “spiraling into deepening violence”, according to an Institute of Economics and Peace press release.
Though the overall scores show global peace levels remained stable in 2014, it “disguises an increasing division between the most and least peaceful nations.”
81 countries’ level of peacefulness improved since last year while 78 deteriorated, the report noted.
The scores of the countries in the APAC region contains the most diverse results in any region, where there are three countries – New Zealand, Japan and Australia – in the top 10, and one, North Korea, in the bottom 10.
A significant contributor to the region’s countries’ lower scores is the on-going conflict in the South China Sea, with Philippines, China and Vietnam, all involved in the dispute, showing a drop in scores.
Singapore's reputation for security and peace is widely noted, with the most notable public disturbance being the Little India riot in Dec 2013. The riot escalated from a bus accident that killed one, to an "agitated" crowd attacking the bus driver and a timekeeper by throwing bottles, stones and dustbins at the bus.
Singapore's highest ranking since the report’s inception in 2008 was 17th in 2012 and 2013.
The top three countries in the global rankings are Iceland, Denmark and Austria, while the bottom three countries are Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.