10th OIC Summit should proclaim a war against corruption in its 57 member-nations,  with a three-year Anti-Corruption Action Plan to lift OIC countries out of the ranks of  the most corrupt nations in the world

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(PenangWednesday): Jailed former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, in an article entitled “We Muslims Must Reform Our Own Politics” in yesterday’s Asian Wall Street Journal, said that it  is a moral imperative for Muslims to make the leap to responsible government, departing from oppressive and corrupt policies. Writing from Sungei Buloh Prison, he warned of the contrast between “the opulence of the (OIC) conference venue” and the  “appalling poverty of ideas on how to cure the Muslim malady - poor governance,  the economic deprivation of millions, political restiveness among citizens”. 

The question is whether the 10th Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit in Putrajaya will address the “burning issues” of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in  the Islamic world, in particular the “Three Deficits” largely responsible for the political and socio-economic backwardness of the peoples in the 57 OIC member countries, viz: (i) freedom; (ii) empowerment of women and (iii) knowledge. 

The OIC Summiteers in Putrajaya should be mindful of Anwar’s salutary reminder that “ranting about  insidious neocolonialism and issuing pious platitudes about the superiority of  the Islamic approach are no substitute for a workable plan to address the depressing state of the Muslim community”. 

If the OIC Summiteers are serious about the burning issues of justice, freedom and good governance, then they should schedule a special debate on the Transparency International’s (TI) 2003 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) which ranked  38 of the 57 OIC member nations in its latest chart of the corruption levels of 133 countries. The TI 2003 CPI  released last Tuesday is dismal reading for OIC as it is an overall indictment of the failures of the  OIC countries  to grapple with the problem of corruption for the following reasons: 

  • Out of the 38 OIC countries listed in the TI 2003 CPI for 133 countries, there  is not a single OIC country in the world’s top 25 least corrupt nations with CPI score higher than 6.3 out of a clean score of 10, which reflects perceived levels of corruption among politicians and public officials in the  133 countries.
  • Only   six OIC  countries have a pass score of above 5 out of a clean score of 10, viz Oman and Bahrain  (both No. 26, 6.3), Qatar (No. 32, 5.6),  Kuwait (No. 35, 5.3), Malaysia and United Arab Emirates (both No. 37, 5.2).
  • 32 countries  or  84.2% of the OIC countries  ranked score less than 5, while 25 countries score 3 or less, indicating a high level of corruption.
  • More than half of the 21 most corrupt countries out of 133 nations are members of OIC, i.e. Iraq, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Tajikistan, Nigeria and Bangladesh.
  • Six of the 12 most corrupt countries in the world with score of less than 2 are from OIC countries; and
  • The world’s  two most corrupt of the 133 countries surveyed in the 2003 TI CPI are from OIC, namely Nigeria ranked 132 with 1.4 CPI score and Bangladesh ranked last with 1.3 CPI score.

The 10th OIC Summit should proclaim a war against corruption in its 57 member-nations,  with a three-year Anti-Corruption Action Plan to lift OIC countries out of the ranks of  the most corrupt nations in the world.  It should establish a special National Integrity or Transparency section in the OIC Secretariat to monitor the corruption situation in the 57 member countries, issuing an annual report of its own corruption perception index of all the OIC countries. 

The  OIC Summit can usefully  resolve that at every future OIC Summit, a OIC Human Development Report should be prepared and published, building on the work of Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen and others to assesss the state of OIC development from a people-centred perspective that puts the expansion of human capabilities, choices and opportunities at the centre of the development process. 

The OIC Summit should take a leaf from the first Arab Human Development Report released by the United Nations Development Programme in July last year which found that despite all the oil wealth, the group of 22 Arab nations surveyed – which represents the core membership of OIC - ranks near the very bottom in the world (in some instances even behind sub-Saharan Africa) when it comes to civil and economic freedoms, women’s participation in public life and production, and the acquisition of new knowledge and skills.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman