The Taiwan Congress Watch Transparency and Anti Corruption Conference was Held From 20-21 October 2017 that brought together Taiwan civil society, academia and foreign experts from the United States, Malaysia and Indonesia, to discuss Parliament as an important institution for check and balance, the need for greater transparency and anti-corruption reforms. Cynthia Gabriel, the Executive Director of Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism spoke as a panelist on developing a fine system on anti-corruption.
TRANSPARENCY AND DEVELOPMENT
Guest speaker Cynthia Gabriel, founder of the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism, is based in Malaysia and sees government transparency as pivotal for the region’s development.
“If parliament is not monitored and held accountable, we’ll have a case of creeping authoritarianism,” she said, citing the 1Malaysia Development Berhad corruption scandal which has mired Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in controversy in recent months.
“The entire scandal has engulfed the nation,” she added. “He [Razak] is using public institutions to protect himself and his private interests.”
Gabriel said this is a serious transgression that has threatened parliamentary immunity.
“Even though [the Malaysian government] is hiding information from Malays, other neighboring countries are investigating,” she said.
NEW SOUTHBOUND POLICY
Gabriel added that in a globalized world, citizens of other countries have a role to play in exposing the corruption of other governments, particularly those within one’s own region.
“The nexus between business and politics is an important one,” Gabriel said, in response to a question regarding Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy and government transparency.
“Taiwan is disadvantaged geo-politically… Although it’s track record is by no means perfect, it defends it’s democratic values and must espouse them when it does business abroad,” she said.
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