Political rights and civil liberties remain unchanged in most Asean countries except Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines

Political rights (PR) refer to the rights that allow the people to participate freely and effectively in choosing their leaders or in voting directly on legislation. Civil liberties (CL) guarantee freedom of speech, privacy and a fair trial, and enable people to criticise their respective political, economic and religious systems1. The changes in freedom statuses have been observed over the last four decades, and PR and CL are rated as 1 being the most free and 7 the least free. The general state of Free, Partly free and Not free are determined by averaging the ratings of PR and CL, as illustrated in Table 2.

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