Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Corruption: For the past 16 years Malaysia is the worst country in Asia-Pacific

Lim Kit Siang

Malaysia is the worst country in Asia-Pacific in Transparency International Corruption Perception Index in past 16 years since the start of the annual ranking in 1995

Despite the “1Malaysia People First Performance Now” slogan and the alphabet soup of GTP, NKRA, MKRA, SRIs, ETP etc and one Roadmap after another of Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the National Integrity Plan of former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Malaysia is the worst country in the Asia-Pacific in Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in past 16 years since the start of the annual ranking in 1995.

In the first TI CPI in 1995, Malaysia was ranked No. 23 out of 41 countries or the 6th highest-ranked nation after New Zealand -1, Singapore – 3, Australia – 7, Hong Kong – 17 and Japan – 20, with a CPI score of 5.28.

Sixteen years later, after numerous anti-corruption campaigns, two major anti-corruption legislation and “transformation” of the former Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) into Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) with massive infusion of public funds and increase of staffing, Malaysia has continued to remain in the lowest TI CPI ranking of No. 56 as last year but with the lowest CPI score of 4.4 – falling to No. 11 country placing in the Asia-Pacific.
In the past 16 years, Malaysia had lost out to five other countries in the Asia-Pacific, namely Taiwan now ranked No. 33 with CPI score of 5.8; Bhutan (No. 36 – 5.7 ); Brunei (No.38 – 5.5); South Korea (No. 39 – 5.4) and Macau (No.46 – 5.0).

Even more serious, other countries which had been down on the list of the TI CPI ranking are fast catching up while Malaysia is fast falling down!

Thailand, China and Indonesia are three examples in Asia. China was ranked No. 40 with a CPI score of 2.16 in 1995. In 2010, China was ranked No. 78 with a CPI score of 3.5.

At the annual average rate of China’s improvement and Malaysia’s regression of their CPI score in the last 16 years, China will not only catch up but will leave Malaysia behind in the TI CPI, both in ranking and in score in a matter of six years – come 2017!

Another Asian country set to overtake Malaysia is Thailand, which was ranked No. 34 with CPI score of 2.79 in 1995, and is now ranked together with China at No. 78 with CPI score of 3.5.

Breathing down Malaysia’s necks in the TI CPI is India (No. 87 – 3.3), having climbed from No. 35 with CPI score of 2.78 in 1995.

Even Indonesia is making significant strides in the anti-corruption front. Ranked at the very bottom of No. 41 in 1995, with CPI score of 1.94, Indonesia is now ranked No. 110 with a CPI score of 2.8 in 2010.

Malaysia is the worst country in the TI CPI in the past 16 years, falling from No. 23 with CPI score of 5.28 to No. 56 with CPI score of 4.4 in 2010.

Malaysia is also losing out to other countries in other regions. For instance Turkey, which was ranked No. 29 in 1995 with CPI score of 4.4 has caught up with Malaysia in 2010, equally ranked No. 56 with 4.4 CPI score.

It is heart-rending to see Malaysia losing out to Middle East countries. Jordan was ranked No. 30 with CPI score of 4.89 in the 1996 TI CPI when Malaysia was ranked No. 26 with CPI score of 5.32. In TI CPI 2010, Jordan has shot ahead of Malaysia, ranked No. 50 with CPI score of 4.7.

Saudi Arabia, which was first ranked No. 46 with CPI score of 4.5 in 2003 (when Malaysia was ranked No. 37 with CPI score of 5.2) is now ahead, with ranking of 50 and CPI score of 4.7.

In the past 16 years, Malaysia is perceived by the world as becoming more and more corrupt while other countries have become less corrupt!

The NKRA on “fighting corruption” had set the target to increase the TI CPI score from 4.5 last year to 4.9 this year, but the reverse has taken place, falling to a new national low of 4.4!

What is most unacceptable and reprehensible is the attempt by the Minister for NKRA Datuk Idris Jala, Pemandu (Performance Management and Deliverty Unit) and the MACC to whitewash the shocking failures of anti-corruption measures this year by claiming that the TI CPI ranking and scores are not correct or reliable.

Pemandu claimed that in the past year, Malaysia had bettered the graft score from 5.2 to 6.3 in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook, from 3.6 to 4.6 in the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy’s (PERC) Asian Intelligence Newsletter and from 4.5 to 4.6 in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report – and that based on the “average score of the four surveys, it is clear that Malaysia’s index has improved from 4.45 in 2009 to 4.975 in 2010”.

Pemandu, which is being staffed by highly-paid consultants and professionals, is being most dishonest, unethical and unprofessional in trying to engage in an unacademic PR exercise to gloss over the abject failures on the anti-corruption NKRA front as TI CPI had not changed its methodology from previous years.

Malaysia’s CPI 2010 is calculated by TI using nine sources by six independent institutions – the same as in previous CPIs. Unless Pemandu challenges the validity of previous CPI scores, it cannot selectively dispute the validity of the 2010 CPI.

The worst TI CPI score for Malaysia in 2010 should be a top issue in Parliament for the government to explain in the 2011 Budget winding-up stage of debate. Instead, this subject has been avoided like the plague, although many MPs had spoken about it in the debate.

The two Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon studiously avoided the subject of Malaysia’s worst TI CPI in 16 years in their winding-up, further undermining public confidence in the political will and commitment of the Barisan Nasional government to declare war on corruption, particularly grand corruption of the “Ikan yus” as distinct from “ikan bilis”, as well as the real worth and utility of expensive Government Transformation Programme run by highly-paid professionals and consultants with their NKRAs, MKRAs, SRIs, etc.

MACC is the chief agency which must be held responsible for the failure of the anti-corruption NKRA, resulting in Malaysia becoming the worst country in Asia-Pacific in Transparency International Corruption Perception Index in past 16 years since the start of the annual ranking in 1995.

In the past seven years, Parliament has trebled the budget for the anti-corruption agency, from RM76.4 million for ACA in 2005 to RM202 million for the MACC in the 2011 Budget – but these increased expenditures, staff and facilities have resulted in a worsening anti-corruption record.

This is the reason for the RM10 cut motion against the MACC Chief Commissioner.
[Speech in Parliament on Tuesday, 9th November 2010 when moving RM10-cut motion against MACC Chief Commissioner]

1 comment:

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