Malaysia ranks 57th in global corruption perception index, trails Singapore in Asean

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 — Malaysia reversed its three-year slide to place 57th out of 108 nations in this year’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) as measured by Transparency International.

Malaysia rose four rungs and scored 50 out of 100 points in 2023, up from 47 the previous year, ending its decline since 2019 when it scored 53 points.

Globally, Denmark placed top again with 90 points followed by Finland (87), New Zealand (85), Norway (84) and Singapore at 83.

Singapore is also the top ranked nation in Asean with Malaysia in second place, followed by Vietnam (41), Thailand (35), Indonesia and the Philippines (tied at 34), Laos (28), Cambodia (22) and Myanmar at 20th place.

Every single Asean member, except for Malaysia and Singapore, fell in the 2024 CPI.

Muhammad Mohan, the chairman of Transparency International Malaysia, attributed Malaysia’s improvement this year to the federal government demonstrating its willingness to take court action against high-profile individuals and its efforts to ensure more transparency and accountability in the public sector.

“The government's show of willingness to charge high profile individuals with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Attorney General's Chambers plays a part in this rise.

“The charging of two former prime ministers for corruption has given a positive public perception. Add to that the independence of the judiciary in charging individuals like those involved in the SRC International trial and the conviction of a former prime minister in this case were possible reasons for Malaysia's rebound,” he said during the launch of the report here today.

“In addition, Malaysia rose to 40th globally in the Democratic Index by Economic Intelligence Unit scoring 7.3 out of 10 points. Add to that the increase in voters with the Undi18 movement all contributed to the result,” he said.

When Malaysia ranked 47th in the CPI last year, the reasons given for the low score included the lack of political will in fighting institutional corruption in the government, huge Covid-19 pandemic stimulus packages that were rolled out without parliamentary debate and scrutiny, appointing unqualified politicians to head government-linked companies, and the reluctance to firmly address cost overruns such as the Littoral Combat Ship project.

Muhammad said that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's dream of seeing Malaysia in the top 25 by 2033 can be achieved but it needs more political will to implement the changes they wanted to implement when they were the Opposition.

He pointed out to countries like Uzbekistan who rose by 15 points since 2014.

“They came up with new legislation, had lots of new programmes and implemented them slowly with the leadership. They believed in something and stuck with it.

“In Malaysia where is our plan? Lots of times the leaders of prime ministers will talk about reforms but never follow through with it. We need to be in the 68 point region to be in the top 25 providing other countries don't add more points,” said Muhammad.

He added having a “brand or slogan” and no goal to follow-up with would not help Malaysia improve its CPI score.

As such, he suggested several action plans the government can take, with making the MACC independent instead of putting it under the direct jurisdiction of the Prime Minister’s Office.

He also suggested the MACC chief’s tenure be fixed and limited to one term so the commission will not be influenced by changes to the government of the day.

Thirdly, Muhammad suggested improving the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010.