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
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Wednesday): 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:
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