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(File pix) Mohd Ryyan Iskandar, 3 playing with his kite at Pantai Batu Buruk, Kuala Terengganu. Kuala Terengganu were identified as one of 10 happiest areas in the country according to 2018 National Happiness Index Study. NSTP/GHAZALI KORI

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is the 80th happiest country in the world, based on the 2019 World Happiness Report (WHR 2019).

This, however, constituted a massive drop from 35th place the previous year.

The ranking, based on surveys conducted in 2018, also saw Thailand and the Philippines overtake Malaysia.

In WHR 2018, Malaysia was the second highest ranked Southeast Asian country, after Singapore. Singapore, which came in 34th in WHR 2019, retained its top billing in Southeast Asia, while Thailand and the Philippines moved up to 52nd and 69th, respectively.

Myanmar, meanwhile, was the lowest ranked Southeast Asian country, coming in 131st out of the 156 countries in the report, an annual publication of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Earlier, Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad had quoted WHR 2018, saying that the report would indirectly encourage more foreign investors to Malaysia.

“(It) will also inspire the various communities to become more tolerant and live in harmony,” he said, after the ministry’s monthly assembly and 2019 World Day of Peace celebration.

Also present was Town and Country Planning Department director-general Datuk Rokibah Abdul Latif.

Khalid said for the 2018 National Happiness Index Study, 10 local authorities were identified as the happiest areas, exceeding 90 per cent.

The areas are Kuala Terengganu, Petaling Jaya, Manjung, Batu Gajah, Bentong, Jasin, Jeli, Segamat, Padang Terap and Bandar Baharu.

He said the data was based on the Malaysia Urban Rural Indicators Network (MURNInets) programme, and based on a number of factors.

“These include a clean environment and effective communication to solve issues of security and disturbances.

“Another factor is close cooperation between neighbours, communities and efficient management of garbage and solid waste,” he said.

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