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Press Statement: Malaysia Suffers Drop on 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)

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Malaysia Suffers Drop on 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)



Thursday 22 February 2018 Kuala Lumpur – On February 22 2018, global anti-corruption coalition Transparency International (TI) which marks its 25th anniversary this year, released its 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), an annual survey measuring the perceived level of corruption in 180 countries in the world. CPI ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople, uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. This year, the index found that more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of 43. Over the last six years, several countries significantly improved their CPI score, including Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and the United Kingdom, while several countries declined, including Syria, Yemen and Australia.


This year, New Zealand and Denmark rank highest with scores of 89 and 88 respectively. Syria, South Sudan and Somalia rank lowest with scores of 14, 12 and 9 respectively. The best performing region is Western Europe with an average score of 66. The worst performing regions are Sub-Saharan Africa (average score 32) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (average score 34). The CPI makes use of surveys done by business people from around the world, including experts living and risk analysts and general public working in the countries evaluated. The CPI is based on at least 3 independent surveys of the perceptions in each country and Malaysia used 9 sources.


TI further disclosed that the analysis, which incorporates data from the Committee to Protect Journalists, shows that in the last six years, more than 9 out of 10 journalists were killed in countries that score 45 or less on the Corruption Perceptions Index. This means that, on average, every week at least one journalist is killed in a country that is highly corrupt. In addition, one in five journalists that died were covering a story about corruption.


Malaysia ranked 62 among 180 countries dropped six places in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2017 with a score of 47 out of 100.  In 2016, Malaysia was ranked 55 with a score of 49. The survey revealed that Malaysia shares same spot with Cuba. This is the worst score since the last 5 years and lowest ranking (slipped seven places) since the CPI was introduced in 1994.


Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2017

Year 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Ranking 53 50 54 55 62
Score 50 52 50 49 47
Countries 177 175 168 176 180

Source: Transparency International


Among its Southeast Asian peers, Malaysia (62nd in world ranking) in 2017 was ranked at the third place just below Brunei (32nd) and Singapore (6th ) with scores of 62 and 84 respectively. Indonesia and Thailand took the fourth spot within the region with its global ranking of 96 and CPI score of 37, followed by the Vietnam (107th , 35), Philippines (111th , 34),  Myanmar (130th , 30) ,Laos (135th , 29), and Cambodia (161th , 21).


CPI 2017   ASEAN    COUNTRIES                          

Countries Rank Score
  Singapore 6 84
   Brunei 32 62
   Malaysia 62 47
   Indonesia 96 37
  Thailand 96 37
   Vietnam 107 35
   Philippines 111 34
   Myanmar 130 30
   Laos 135 29
   Cambodia 161 21

Source: Transparency International

In the Muslim majority countries, United Arab Emirates is the cleanest or least corrupted with the score of 71 and ranked 21st  in the world. Qatar was second place in the Arab States ranked at 29thplace out of 180 nations with the score of 63 out 100, topping all the Muslim countries.


As for Malaysia, issues surrounding 1MDB Malaysia and the RM2.6 billion donation, FELDA scandal, Sabah Water scandal were amongst the reasons why Malaysia slipped seven (7) places in the ranking of CPI. Recent conviction of a whistle blower on the NFC (National Feedlot Corporation) scandal case where the government funded the corporation and those involved were acquitted and discharged are examples where the public, investors and the business community are losing faith in our system. Furthermore, the political and corruption situation in the country also affected the ranking. However, if not because of the MACC‘s aggressiveness in conducting investigation and making arrests to deter corruption in the country, the ranking could have been further eroded.


The government has set a key performance indicator (KPI) to achieve the 30th spot by 2020, however our downward trend puts us further from the target. This should be our “wake-up call” but is the government listening or will this deplorable ranking be explained just like so many other warning signs?



Dato’ Akhbar Satar


Transparency International Malaysia


About Transparency International Malaysia

Transparency International-Malaysia is an independent, non-governmental and non-partisan organisation committed to the fight against corruption.


About the Corruptions Perceptions Index

Since its inception in 1995, the Corruption Perceptions Index, Transparency International’s flagship publication, is the leading global indicator of public sector corruption. The index offers an annual snapshot of the relative degree of corruption by ranking countries from all over the globe. For more information, visit