(Penang, Friday): The Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) should table a special report in Parliament next month to explain why Malaysia has slipped and joined the 70 per cent of countries which score less than 5 out of a clean score of 10 in the Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2002, suggesting high levels of perceived corruption in government and public administration.
Although Malaysia has improved its country placing from No.36 out of 91 countries in TI’s CPI 2001 to No. 33 out of 102 countries in the 2002 CPI, Malaysia has joined the group of 70 countries which scored less than 5 out of a clean score of 10, suggesting high levels of perceived corruption in government and public administration.
Nine countries scored 9 or higher out of a clean score of 10 in the new CPI, indicating a very low level of perceived corruption, led by Finland 9.7, Denmark and New Zealand 9.5, Iceland 9.4, Singapore and Sweden 9.3, Canada, Luxembourg and Netherlands 9.0.
In the 2001 CPI, although Malaysia was ranked No. 36, it scored 5 and joined 36 countries with low level of perceived corruption – a position it failed to maintain in the 2002 CPI when it scored 4.9 and slipped into the group of 70 countries with high levels of perceived corruption in government and public administration.
In Asia, Malaysia (4.9) is perceived as more corrupt than Singapore (9.3), Hong Kong (8.2), Japan (7.1) and Taiwan (5.6) and better than South Korea (4.5), Sri Lanka (3.7), China (3.5), Thailand (3.2), India (2.7), Philippines (2.6), Vietnam (2.4), Indonesia (1.9) and Bangladesh (1.2).
Malaysia can take no comfort from being perceived as less corrupt than nine other Asian countries, when we should aim to be ranked among the world’s top ten countries perceived to be the least corrupt with a score of more than 9 out of a clean score of 10.
It is imperative that a precedent be established that the
ACA must be accountable directly to Parliament to explain
as to why it had faltered and failed in its efforts to create a culture
of zero-tolerance for corruption, especially as the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk
Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had declared the
government’s support for the “zero
tolerance for corruption” objective.
Speaking at the
Ethics and Integrity Conference in Kuala Lumpur last week, Abdullah said the
public sector must always operate with the highest standard of honesty and integrity, that “"Nothing else will
do" as the Government had “zero tolerance for corruption” and wanted it
to be eradicated at all levels.
He said the Government possessed ample political will to ensure that the scourge is eradicated in both the public and private sectors, and that ethics and integrity should be at the core of every person.
The TI’s 2002 CPI highlights two disturbing facets of the war against
corruption: firstly, that Malaysia has a very long way to go before we could
ever get near to the world’s top
10 nations perceived as the least corrupt; and secondly, the ACA is in fact
losing ground in the war against corruption.
The adverse 2002 CPI report for Malaysia has come at a time when there is a
new crisis of confidence in the
integrity of government precipitated by the conviction and two-year jail
sentence of Keadilan Youth chief Mohd Ezam Mohd Noor
under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) which
sent out the outrageous message to the nation and the world that in
Malaysia corruption is no crime while exposing corruption is the heinous crime.
DAP MP for Tanjong, Chow Kon Yeow had given notice to the Parliament Speaker, Tan Sri Mohamad Zahir Ismail, of a motion to debate the new crisis of confidence in the integrity of government, and the ACA’s report on the adverse score for Malaysia in the 2002 CPI should feature prominently in the parliamentary debate on the worsening corruption in government and public administration.