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Singapore has 6th most open govt in East Asia, Pacific region: report

SINGAPORE has the sixth most open government out of 15 countries in East Asia and the Pacific region, according to an index released Thursday by the World Justice Project (WJP).

The WJP Open Government Index 2015, which is the organisation's first effort to measure government openness based on general public experiences and perceptions, placed Singapore 24th out of 31 among high income countries, and 25th out of 102 countries worldwide.

The report said Singapore's highest-ranking dimension was "publicised laws and government data", which was ranked 9th out of 102 countries.

Its lowest-ranking dimension was "civic participation", where it was placed 70th.

The top overall performer in the index was Sweden while the bottom performer was Zimbabwe.

In the East Asia and Pacific region, the top performer was New Zealand and the bottom performer was Myanmar.

Ranking on the index is derived from more than 100,000 household surveys and in-country expert questionnaires.

The index covers a total of 102 countries and jurisdictions, and is organised around four dimensions: publicised laws and government data, right to information, right to petition and citizen participation, and complaint mechanisms.

The index also tracks the experiences of ordinary people as they request information from the government.

Worldwide, only 40 per cent of survey respondents knew of any laws supporting their right to access of government-held information.

In Singapore, one in four households said they were aware of such laws.

Government openness is vital for both the government and the governed, said Juan Carlos Botero, executive director of the WJP, adding that openness helps improve public service delivery, promotes government legitimacy, and encourages citizens to collaborate with their government and monitor its performance.

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