Friday, April 8, 2011

Less corruption means more investments

ramon navaratnam
KUALA LUMPUR: Community leader and social commentator Ramon Navaratnam says the bold initiatives of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will invariably improve the Corruption Perception Index, which will eventually have a positive effect on investments into the country.
“All potential investors look at the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) and there is no reason why they would want to put their money into a country that is more corrupted than the other.
“With Malaysia’s CPI set to improve through the initiatives of the MACC, the country can expect more investments as governance is an important pre-determinant before an investor decides to invest in a country,” said Navaratnam, who is also the Sunway Group’s Corporate adviser.

A special task force led by the MACC, Inland Revenue Board (IRB) and supported by five other agencies, simultaneously raided 84 forwarding agents, a holding company and 24 of its related companies and 25 Customs premises throughout the country recently.
The MACC had already arrested 62 Customs officers of various ranks and posts under “Operation 3B” for alleged involvement in corruption, money laundering and other offences.
MACC investigation director Mustafar Ali said the investigations carried out since last Monday, with the cooperation of five other agencies, found that more than RM10 billion had been smuggled out of the country.
Meanwhile, the chief economist at Maybank Investment Bank Suhaimi Ilias said that the initiatives of the MACC were likely to bolster confidence and could lead to an increased inflow of investments as this would signal that the cost of doing business in Malaysia was lower.
“We can reduce the level of over-paying and this should augur well for the prevailing business sentiment in the country,” he added.
Successful formula
Navaratnam agreed that the MACC can keep inflation down as corruption adds to cost and keeps inflationary pressure up.
“Through the efforts of the MACC, consumers can enjoy better quality products with prices that commensurate with actual costs and not added costs through corruption,” he said.
Navaratnam, who was also until recently the chairman of the corruption prevention panel of the MACC, added that the MACC had to be highly commended for its successful raids as its taskforce had shown a very high degree of professionalism while executing the carefully coordinated action with other agencies.
The “successful formula” used by the MACC in the recent crackdown on corruption and related offences jointly with other agencies should now be extended to big cases and outside the borders.
“The proven formula that has yielded good results should now be extended to big cases and outside the national boundaries. If this momentum continues, the image of the MACC will be considerably enhanced,” Navaratnam said.
He said that the MACC was approaching a turning point compared to the poor reputation that it had in the past.
“With the high-profile cases involving billions of ringgit, the public will be more appreciative of MACC’s success and steady progress.
“Since MACC’s formation a few years ago, it has grown in strength and calibre. So, this is a maturing process by garnering big scoops, and it is hoped that it will take on bigger cases even if it involves prominent individuals,” Navaratnam said.

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