Malaysia has achieved its best score and rank to date on the Democracy Index, placing 43rd from a total of 167 countries.
The Democracy Index 2019 report, released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), gave Malaysia a score of 7.16 from a maximum score of 10.
Malaysia had scored between 5.98 and 6.88 since the index began in 2006. It was ranked 52nd last year with a score of 6.88.
The report noted that Malaysia made improvements despite regression by its regional peers.
"By contrast, Malaysia, which scrapped its 'fake news' law in August 2018 (having introduced it in March of that year) made further democratic gains in 2019.
"Its score improved and the country rose nine places in the global ranking as campaigning opportunities for all parties, including the opposition, improved, especially in the realm of social media," said the report.
The Democracy Index seeks to measure the state of democracy in the world. It measures five areas, namely electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, political participation, political culture and civil liberties.
Malaysia's gains in the ranking were contributed by a marked improvement in its score on the electoral process and pluralism, where it received 9.17 out of a maximum score of 10. It scored 7.75 in this area in 2018.
Its score for the functioning of government (7.86), political participation (6.67), political culture (6.25) and civil liberties (5.88) remain the same.
Malaysia's improved overall ranking still placed the country in the "flawed democracy" segment, but it has for the first time moved into the top half of the category. It is tied with the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
At the bottom of the same category is Singapore, which is ranked 75th with a score of 6.02 and tied with Hong Kong. Ranked 73rd and 74th are Mexico and Papua New Guinea, respectively.
Top countries in the flawed democracy category include South Korea, Japan and the United States.
Countries with a score higher than eight are placed in the "full democracy" category while countries with a score of between six to eight are placed in the "flawed democracy" category.
A score of between six to four will place a country in the "hybrid regime" category, and a score below four will be put in the "authoritarian" category.
The top "full democracy" countries are Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand and Finland.