PETALING JAYA, Jan 25 – Malaysia dropped another three points to 48 in its Corruption Perceptions Index score in 2021 from 2020, while coming down in its ranking from 57 in 2020 to 62 in 2021.
The country’s CPI which saw improvement in the year 2019 with a score of 53 and ranking of 51, was also easier in 2020, down by 2 points to 51 while ranking went down to 57th spot.
Announcing this here today, Transparency International Malaysia (TI Malaysia) President Dr Muhammad Mohan expressed his concerns over the worrying downtrend in the past few years in Malaysia’s performance in the corruption index.
Malaysia was among 23 countries that declined in their CPI scores while 25 countries improved their scores.
The scores have been going down since 2019, said Mohan citing slow institutional reforms that has enabled rampant money politics, and corruption, a watered down Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) bill and the lack of progress on the reforms for Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency set out in 2015 as factors for Malaysia’s continued decline in the CPI.
While pointing out some some positive development such as the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government and Pakatan Harapan party towards minimum voting age of 18, Malaysian Agreement 63, Parliamentary reforms, he also highlighted other factors that constributed to the country’s lower score in corruption perception.
Acquittal or discharge not amounting to acquittal of high personalities in corruption cases with no clear clarification from the Attorney General office, high stimulus packages pushed through without parliamentary debate and scrutiny, appointment of politicians without experience to head government linked companies, repeated governance failures and lack of action against public officials found to have abused their positions.
TI together with its coalition partners in Rasuah Busters, called for urgent implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Plan, acceleration of the tabling of the Political Financing Act, Independence and transparency in key institutions namely MACC, AG Chambers, and a full stop to party hopping with a law or recalling of elections.
“It has been an unfair situation for voters, who have had voted particular persons only to see them moving into another party several months after election, ” Mohan said, stressing the need for a law to prevent party hopping.
Pointing out the importance of the CPI, he said, there was correlation between a country’s corruption level and its allocations for spending on health and education. A lower level of corruption leaves more funds for spending in the area of health care and education.
TI made 14 recommendations to the government for improved transparency and governance practice.
These included narrowing the scope of the Official Secrets Act to enable matters of public interest be released for public information access except that which involves national security, amending the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 to provide wider channels for the public to report and strengthen protection for whistleblowers.
Meanwhile, among the 10 countries that scored above 80 were Denmark with 88, Finland 88 and New Zealand 88 as well as the only Asian country Singapore with 85, while countries with least scores were South Sudan with 11 points and Syria 13 points.
TI’s full list of recommendations towards a cleaner and more transparent governance can be found at its website: www.transparency.org.my