Transparency International released the Global Corruption Barometer for Asia 2020 covering 17 countries with 20,000 people surveyed. This survey for Malaysia is for the period July 2019 to June 2020 where two different governments were in power at the time the survey was done.
The major highlights for Malaysia in this survey finds that 71% Malaysians think that government corruption is a big problem. Out of all public institutions, Parliament, the Police and Government officials ranked the highest for perception of corruption, with 36%, 30% and 28% of Malaysians surveyed, respectively. It is also worth mentioning that 39% of all respondents strongly believe that corruption is on the rise.
However, in another question, 67% feel that the government is doing a good job of fighting corruption. Here, it is likely this positive feedback is due to the aggressive actions taken by the enforcement authorities like the MACC as well as policies put in place by the GIACC and the NACP.
When juxtaposed against the rest of Asia, the biggest sample size of the GCB survey, and home of Malaysia, the following observations are worth noting:
7% of surveyed Malaysians have been bribed for their vote in an election, which is lower than the average in Asia of 14%.
15% of surveyed Malaysians have utilized personal connections when accessing public services, which is lower than the average in Asia of 22%.
67% of surveyed Malaysians have faith the MACC was doing a good job in curbing corruption, which is slightly higher than the average in Asia of 63%.
Lastly, of all Malaysians surveyed, a total 68% still believed that ordinary people can make a difference in fighting corruption, which is higher than the average in Asia of 62%.
Hence, Malaysians are still very hopeful and have not lost faith in the law enforcement or public service, despite their experiences, and it is clear that the Rakyat believe we can all fight corruption. However, there appears to be a slight dip in expectations when it comes to politicians and their officials of late - this may have to do with all the political instability, party jumping, allegations of money politics, and corruption scandals involving political figures.
If the government wishes to improve its image amongst the Rakyat it serves, the government needs to get its act together. The NACP has to be implemented and enforced without delays, amendments, watering down or U-turns, as observed with regards to the IPCMC bill during BN, PH and PN’s times. The Political Financing Act also needs to be tabled in parliament in order to limit and control money politics, party hopping and election related bribery.
Strong political will is needed if we aspire to make Malaysia known for her integrity and not corruption.