DAP welcomes Rais’ announcement that Malaysia aims to be among the world’s 10 least corrupt nations and regrets that this had been spoiled by Kayveas 24 hours later in finding excuses for the country slipping further down the 2003 Transparency International 2003 Corruption Perception Index
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Thursday): DAP welcomes the announcement by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim in Putrajaya on Tuesday that Malaysia aims to be among the world’s 10 least corrupt nations and regrets that this had been spoiled by the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk M. Kayveas 24 hours later in finding excuses in Parliament for the country slipping further down the 2003 Transparency International (TI) 2003 Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
On Tuesday, Rais said Malaysia aimed to be in the top 10 of TI’s CPI list. Speaking to reporters in Putrajaya after presenting prizes to the winners of a national level pre-university anti-corruption debate at Putra Mosque, he said:
“We will continue with more effective anti-corruption and enforcement activities. The ACA will work harder together with other agencies and the private sector.
“We could not possibly be in the top 10 next year but we are nearing it now.” (The Sun 15.10.03)
Less than 24 hours later, Kayveas had made a mockery of Rais’ announcement when he defended in Parliament the dismal ranking of Malaysia in the latest TI 2003 CPI released only 10 days ago
Kayveas said Malaysia’s corruption rating in the 2003 CPI by TI had slipped from the 33rd least corrupt country in 2002 to 37th this year because there were only 102 countries polled last year as compared to 133 countries this year. He claimed that the 2003 CPI score for Malaysia has improved from 4.9 to 5.2 out of a clean score of 10.
This is a very lame excuse to justify the slippage of Malaysia’s TI 2003 CPI ranking, especially as there is nothing to crow about the CPI score this year, which is lower than three of the nine years where such indices had been computed i.e. 1995, 1996 and 1998.
Kayveas would have done the government’s credibility on the anti-corruption front greater service if he had honestly admitted that Malaysia has a dismal transparency record since TI’s first annual CPI in 1995, when Malaysia was ranked 23rd out of 44 countries, as shown from the following chart on Malaysia’s CPI Ranking and Score 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, one conclusion that could be drawn is that 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 by Malaysia to realistically aspire to be ranked among the world’s top ten least corrupt nations which are occupied by the following countries:
The excuse given by Kayveas that Malaysia’s TPI CPI had fallen four places to the country’s worst placing of 37th position in the nine-year history of the TI annual rating is most ridiculous – for if Malaysia aspires to be among the world’s top 10 least corrupt nations, it must be able to hold its place whether compared to 41, 85, 102, 133 or even 180 nations.
For instance, the following top 10 least corrupt nations had been able to keep their rankings in the past nine years of the TI CPI rating, although the number of countries polled had increased from 41 countries in 1995 to 133 in 2003:
Does Malaysia 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?
Firstly, the government must make clear whether Rais’ claim that Malaysia is aiming to be in the top 10 of TI’s CPI list has the sanction of the Cabinet and government, or whether Kayveas’ stand justifying Malaysia’s lowly ranking is closer to the real sentiments of the government leaders.
Secondly, if the government is serious in wanting Malaysia to be in the top 10 of TI’s CPI list, then it should be elevated into a National Policy and Objective which should be fully endorsed by Parliament. I do not know how Rais could claim that Malaysia is “nearing” the aim of being in the top 10 of TI’s CPI list, when Malaysia has just been placed in the worst ranking in the nine-year history of the TI rating.
DAP had submitted a memorandum to the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) in early August 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 TI CPI by 2013. The Mid-Term Review of the Eighth Malaysia Plan, which should be presented to the current meeting of Parliament, should formally incorporate as a national objective the all-out war against corruption so that Malaysia can be ranked among the world’s top least corrupt nations within a decade.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman