Malaysia down five spots to 62 in TI-M’s corruption index rankings

By Qamarina Razali

KUALA LUMPUR, 26 January 2022: Malaysia went down five spots to being 62nd out of 180 countries in terms of public sector corruption in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

New Straits Times reported President of Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M), Dr. Muhammad Mohan said compared to its score of 51 in 2020, Malaysia attained 48 out of 100 points in the index.

He added that the country ranked 57 in 2020 and was at 51 in 2019. The ranking of 100 indicates a country being very clean, while zero shows they are highly corrupted.

Dr. Mohan pointed out that stalled institutional reforms is among the reasons why Malaysia has deviated from its path.

“The last four governments lacked the political will to table the ‘Political Financing Bill’. As such, money politics is still widespread even during elections.

There also has been zero progress on reforms to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s recommendations in 2015,” he said.

The other issues mentioned by him was on discharge not equitable to acquittal for high profile personalities in corruption cases, as well as the persistent lack of political will from various administrations in fighting corruption.

“Appointments of politicians without experience to lead government linked companies as well as the government procurement bill which is yet to be tabled in Parliament (remains outstanding).

There is also a lack in progress for amendments regarding the Whistle-blowers Protection Act 2010 besides poor findings and government failures observed in the Auditor General’s annual report. Additionally, there is also a lack of action taken against public officials who misuse their positions,” he added.

However, Dr. Mohan pointed out that there were positive developments like the signing of the memorandum of understanding between Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Pakatan Harapan last year.

He said this also includes the reducing of minimum voting age to 18 and automatic registration of voter, as well as the Malaysian Agreement (MA) 63.

Dr. Mohan then emphasised that the anti-hopping law is also crucial to be tabled in the parliament soon.

“The law is badly needed. We cannot simply have lawmakers jumping (to other parties) every few years.

There is also a need for parliamentary reforms and reduction of the (unlimited) tenure of the prime minister to 10 years,” he added.

In the Transparency International Corruption Index released on Monday, three countries – Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, tied at the top spot, scoring at 88. It is then followed by Norway with the score of 85.

Singapore, Malaysia’s neighbour, was at the fifth rank with 85 points, making it the only Asian country in the top 10 of the CPI table.

For Southeast Asian countries, Malaysia is at the third place after Singapore and Brunei.

Meanwhile, Malaysia ranked sixth among Islamic countries, behind United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Brunei, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Mohan said that TI-M called for the narrowing of the range of the Official Secrets Act so that matters of public interest like directly negotiated contracts can be released without being defined as making compromises towards national interest.

He said, “Information should be transparently shared. This includes uploading data on all public contracts. Regular updates on the status of high-profile cases should also be provided.

The implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) must be monitored while progress on the 115 initiatives should also be given.”

He mentioned the need for the chief secretary to be responsible for the public service role in the successful implementation of the NACP.

“We need to adopt international standards of integrity in government procurement for transparency and good governance. The recent government circular failed to address this issue.”

“The powers and independence for the enforcement agency integrity commission must also be strengthened,” he added.

Dr. Mohan also stated that Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should be reformed by the government to make it fully independent and report to Parliament.

“This will call for amendments to the MACC Act and the federal constitution,” he said.***

Source: News Straits Times

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