PETALING JAYA – A Malaysian passport gives you visa-free access to 151 countries, making it the eighth most powerful passport in the world in the Passport Index 2016.
The ranking by the World Economic Forum puts Malaysia on par with countries such as Iceland, Australia and Malta.
The index ranked passports according to countries that can be visited without applying for a visa.
In comparison with other Asean countries, Brunei (ranked 20) passport holders have visa-free access to 136 countries, Thailand (55) to 72 countries, the Philippines (63) to 62 and Indonesia (69) to 56 nations. Vietnam and Cambodia (both ranked 74) passports have access to 51 countries.
The top ranking went to Germany and Sweden where passport holders are able to visit 158 countries without the need to apply for visas.
Last year, the United States and United Kingdom shared the top spot but have fallen to fourth and second place.
Singapore is also ranked fourth (with the US), enabling its passport holders to travel visa free to 155 countries.
The “least powerful passports” are those from the conflict zones such as Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan where passport holders can only travel to 31 to 24 countries visa-free.
Meanwhile, Malaysia is ranked 19th in the world as the most welcoming country to foreigners for providing visa-free travel to the country ahead of Singapore, United Kingdom, Germany, and United States which are ranked at 20, 46, 49, and 78 respectively. – ANN