Malaysia scores higher in Human Development Report

by LYDIA NATHAN / pic by BERNAMA

MALAYSIA has ranked 62nd out of 189 countries in the Human Development Report 2020 issued by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

In the 30th edition of the Human Development Report, “The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene”, Malaysia scored 0.81 points, up from last year’s 0.804, placing the nation in the higher categories globally alongside Singapore and Brunei Darussalam.

The annual report considers life expectancy, expected years of schooling and national income per capita.

According to the report, life expectancy at birth in Malaysia is 76 years, while the country’s expected years of schooling is 13.9 years, including the diploma level after secondary school.

The report also highlighted the need to ease planetary pressures and transformations that must occur in the way people live, work and cooperate.

Academy of Sciences Malaysia senior fellow Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dr Zakri Abdul Hamid said it is no longer the planet that is shaping humans, but it is now the other way around.

He said the pressures are great, particularly with climate change and extreme weather conditions, that biodiversity is in a crisis.

“The Covid-19 pandemic stands as an example of what could emerge from what is happening around us today,” he said at the launch of the report yesterday.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar (picture) said the present pandemic has engulfed the entire world and disrupted lives as never before.

“Scientists have warned for years that we could all get sick from any number of zoonotic viruses. Climate change, environmental degradation, changing migration patterns and dense urban centres all make a pandemic almost inevitable,” he said.

Khairy added that as the world welcomes the scientific breakthrough in what will be the biggest vaccination programme in human history, it is to be reminded of how this light at the end of the tunnel is fractured by not enough global solidarity and once again inequity.

“As countries begin to inoculate citizens, billions more around the world will only look on wondering when they will receive their immunisation and when their already stretched public healthcare systems can get reprieve with the arrival of the vaccines.

“Many continue to live with inequity. Let them not die from it. These vaccines must be available to everyone, fast and at affordable prices,” he said.