Ranking drop in corruption index a ‘wake-up call’, anti-graft watchdogs tell Putrajaya

Topics: Political Corruption & Conflict of InterestGood Governance & Anti-Corruption
Related news: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/363679
Coverage by: The Malaysian Insight

PUTRAJAYA must wake up to Malaysia dropping five places in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2021 report and make a serious effort to arrest the decline, anti-graft groups and a veteran lawmaker said. 

Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) executive director Cynthia Gabriel said the current government has not shown much sign of carrying out reforms on anti-corruption and accountable governance. 

“The National Anti-Corruption Plan isn’t included in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between (Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Pakatan Harapan).

“Reforms mentioned in that comprehensive document have failed in its implementation. We hope they (government) will take this as a wake-up call,” she said.

Gabriel was commenting on Malaysia dropping five places in the CPI, placing it at 62 out of 180 countries ranked on the level of public sector corruption.

Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Dr Muhammad Mohan said Malaysia scored 48 out of 100 points in the index, compared to its 2020 score of 51.

He said the country ranked 57 in 2020, while in 2019 it was placed at 51. The ranking of 100 means very clean, while zero means highly corrupt.

Mohan blamed stalled institutional reforms as one of the reasons why Malaysia fell in the corruption perception index for a second year in a row.

Gabriel said that C4 was not shocked (with the ranking), as the “writing has been on the wall” with a series of shameful scandals and clampdown on civil liberties and the deterioration of the country’s institutions.

“We are also incredibly worried that the political frogging and the change of governments over three years has severely compromised the commitment towards reform.

“We didn’t arrive at this dark place overnight. So, the fixing of our credibility as a nation committed towards transparency and the rule of law must have the full and solid commitment of the government, nothing less.”

Bersih 2.0 chairman Thomas Fann said it was not surprising that Malaysia is perceived to be more corrupt since 2019 when high-profile cases were dropped. 

These, he said were cases against Musa Aman (former Sabah chief minister), Riza Aziz (Rosmah Mansor’s son) and Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor (former Federal Territories minister) dropped by the attorney-general.

“Such arbitrary decisions lend to the perception that the AG’s decisions were politically motivated and corruption is condoned if the accused is aligned with the ruling party. 

“We call for a total reform of the structures that deal with corruption, starting from the separation of the AG’s role as public prosecutor.

“The MACC must be placed under the oversight of Parliament and other independent bodies, and the enactment of political financing laws to effectively deal with corruption.”

Meanwhile, DAP veteran lawmaker Lim Kit Siang said Malaysians expect a statement from the cabinet as to why the country is facing another crisis of confidence with the 2019 CPI which was the best in 25 years, compared to the 2021 CPI,which was the worst in 27 years. 

“Malaysia’s score in the 2021 CPI was 48 points out of 100, a drop of five points as compared to the 2019 CPI. 

He felt it would have been lower if alaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Azam Baki’s alleged share ownership scandal had been factored into the latest ranking.

“Will any heads roll as a result of Malaysia’s shocking performance in the 2021 CPI? 

“In other countries, the MACC chief would have handed in his resignation at the atrocious 2021 CPI report, but not in Malaysia.”

He said after studying the CPI ranking and score for the 24-year series from 1995-2018, there was no ground for anyone to believe that the target of Malaysia being ranked in the top 30 countries could be achieved.

“Countries which had been down on the list of the CPI ranking in the first series in 1995, like China, Thailand, India and Indonesia, were fast catching up to Malaysia’s level, which had regressed since 1995,” he noted. 


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