Before adjournment next Tuesday, Parliament should pass an all-party motion to declare an all-out war against corruption and adopt the national objective for Malaysia to be ranked among the world’s top ten least corrupt nations within a decade with an annual parliamentary anti-corruption report and debate
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The first week of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as the new Prime Minister is a mixed record – long on promise but short on substance though Malaysians are still full of goodwill and best wishes that he will be able to bring about improvements and changes in the country to start the long, painful and arduous process to become a normal country by repairing the damages of the past two decades to good governance; the principles of accountability, transparency and integrity; a just rule of law and a truly independent judiciary; democracy and human rights.
The most memorable event of Abdullah’s first week as Prime Minister was undoubtedly his maiden official speech which he gave in Parliament on Monday, which raised hopes and even euphoria because of his pledge to carry out his duties with integrity, trustworthiness, efficiency and fairness and his sensitivity and empathy with issues close to the hearts of thinking and patriotic Malaysians - democracy; separation of powers between the legislature, executive and judiciary; first-world mentality to go hand-in-hand with first-world infrastructure; an administration which is “clean, incorruptible, modest and beyond suspicion” and his welcome of “criticism and contrary views to ensure that the culture of democracy thrives”.
DAP welcomes Abdullah’s announcement after the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday to set up the Malaysian Institute for Public Ethics and a National Integrity Plan.
In early August, DAP had submitted a memorandum to the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) proposing a 10-year Anti-Corruption Action Plan to compete with Finland and be ranked among the world’s 10 least corrupt countries in the annual Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) within a decade. Last month, I had suggested that the Mid-Term Review of the Eighth Malaysia Plan should formally incorporate as a national objective an all-out war against corruption so that Malaysia can be ranked among the world’s top ten least corrupt nations within a decade.
Before its adjourns next Tuesday, Parliament should pass an all-party motion to declare an all-out war against corruption and adopt the national objective for Malaysia to be ranked among the world’s top ten least corrupt nations within a decade with an annual parliamentary anti-corruption report and debate
The establishment of an Institute for Public Ethics is a step in the right direction, but it cannot on its own tackle root causes of corruption, abuses of power and the reasons for Malaysia’s dismal rankings in the annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, dropping to the worst 37th placing in the past nine years, as illustrated from Malaysia’s record in the TI CPI from 1995 – 2003:
CPI Score relates to perceptions of the degree of corruption as seen by business people, academics and risk analysts, and ranges between 10 (highly clean) and 0 (highly corrupt).
From Malaysia’s CPI score for the past nine years, Malaysia had been struggling to keep above the pass score of 5, and so long as Malaysia is bogged down at this level, there is no chance whatsoever for Malaysia to realistically aspire to be ranked among the world’s top ten least corrupt nations which are occupied by the following countries:
Malaysia must demonstrate that it has the political will and stamina to break out of the rut in the CPI score in the struggle to keep above the pass score of 5 and take the quantum leap to score above 9 if the nation is to be reckoned in the world’s top ten least corrupt nations – starting with Parliament passing an all-party resolution on a National Integrity Pledge and Objective to be ranked among the world’s ten least corrupt nations within a decade.
In keeping with this parliamentary commitment, the Anti-Corruption Agency should be required to submit annual reports to Parliament which should form the basis of the annual parliamentary anti-corruption debate. Furthermore, an all-party parliamentary Standing Committee headed by an Opposition Member of Parliament should be established to monitor and review the war against corruption, with the power to convene public hearings as part of the all-out war against corruption.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman