Issued in conjunction with the worldwide launch of the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2010
Malaysia’s 2010 CPI score
Malaysia’s 2010 CPI score has declined slightly from 4.5 to 4.4, with the country ranking remaining at 56th (of 178 countries). This is on the back of last year’s plunge of 0.6 and 9 places in the country ranking.
In the past year, the government announced initiatives to address corruption, including:
• Integrity as a National Key Result Area (NKRA), with improvement of the CPI score from 4.5 to 4.9 as a Key Productivity Index
• TI’s Integrity Pacts (IP) to be implemented in government procurement (Treasury directive dated 1 April 2010)
• Formation of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) with more powers and autonomy and review by independent panels
• The Whistleblower Protection Act, which was passed in April 2010, to expose corruption by protecting whistleblowers (and for Malaysia to meet its obligations under the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)), to be implemented before year-end
• Formation of 18 special corruption courts and amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code to expedite corruption trials, currently in progress
• Publication of all Government contract tender awards in the MyProcurement portal
• “Name and shame” in the Convicted Corruption Offenders Database on MACC’s website, with offenders’ details, charge and sentence imposed
• Establishment of compliance units in key enforcement agencies – Royal Malaysian Police, Road Transport Department, Royal Malaysian Customs Department, Immigration Department of Malaysia and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
Although positive steps have been taken, there have been problems with implementation and lack of confidence-building improvements, indicating insufficient political will to eradicate corruption. For example, there are glaring items of grave concern, such as generally no “big fish” being brought to book, poor progress in identifying and prosecuting culpable persons in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) fiasco, No Further Action by the Attorney-General against those implicated in judicial appointment tampering (“Lingam tapes”) despite the Royal Commission’s findings and recommendations, the continuing and snowballing practice of awarding mega projects and contracts without open tenders or competitive bidding, and no IPs implemented to date.
We suggest that the government can take further initiatives such as:
• Making the MACC more independent and autonomous to reinforce the rule of law that no one is above the law. This can be done by having it report directly to a Parliamentary committee such as in South Korea, and also be given prosecution powers
• Reforming political financing and regulation of political parties and elections, and public disclosure of politicians’ assets
• Promoting freedom of information by repealing or drastically curbing legislation such as the Official Secrets Act, Sedition Act and Printing Presses and Publications Act
• Effective and vigorous enforcement of existing laws and policies, including money laundering and transfers by suspects in high profile corruption cases.
TI-M urges the government to show strong political will “without fear or favour” to fight corruption. Given Malaysia’s aspiration to be a high income and developed country by the year 2020, the commitment to fight corruption must be clear and firm. CPI results have consistently showed direct correlation between the level of corruption and the economic development of a nation. The nations with good CPI scores (less corrupt) are developed nations with a high standard of living such as Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore (joint top three in the 2010 CPI ranking). Conversely, countries with low scores (more corrupt) are low income nations. This indicates that Malaysia’s quest for a high income economy will fail if corruption persists. A high income economy can only be achieved where there are efficient delivery systems, where the organs of government and institutions govern and manage the country and its resources professionally, responsibly and with integrity, transparency and good governance, in the interest of the nation and its citizens.
Issued by :
Datuk Paul Low
Transparency International Malaysia