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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Malaysia slides further in graft index

Transparency International Malaysia attributes this to the lack of political will to fight corruption.
Malaysia lacks the political will to fight corruption, says Transparency International, as it announced the latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) which shows the country’s ranking falling another notch.

Malaysia scored 49/100 in the latest CPI, a one-point drop from last year’s score of 50, leaving it on par with Croatia.

“We always talk about fighting corruption, but we have never really fought corruption. There is no walking the talk,” said TI-Malaysia president, Akhbar Satar.

The latest CPI ranked Malaysia at the 55th spot among 176 countries surveyed. It was ranked at no. 54 in 2015.

On the CPI scale, zero is perceived to be highly corrupt, while 100 is perceived to be very clean.

“One concern is the systemic corruption where there is a vast network of people who stole and hoarded money. There is corruption in public service such as at the Federal, state and local government levels.

Akhbar was questioned on the country’s declining score despite the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) recent aggressive approach in its anti-graft war.

He said that this was because the report ended in August last year, as such it did not take into account the arrests made by MACC from September onwards.

“MACC has been doing very well. The raids by MACC also saw its officers seizing millions of ringgit aside from arresting high-profile figures,” he said, adding that 55% of the arrests were government officials in the bottom 40 (B40) scale.

Akhbar also urged to do away with the “middleman” in procuring government contracts.
“These contracts should be handled directly by government agencies rather than farmed out to private contractors who then adopt a ‘rent-seeking’ mentality and regularly pay bribes to maintain such contracts.”

In order to maintain integrity in governance, the MACC and the attorney-general must also not practice selective investigations and prosecutions.

“If there’s a case and they refuse to charge, then they will just have to wait for ‘judgement day’,” he added.

The CPI also showed Denmark and New Zealand being placed at the top, making them the “cleanest countries”, while Somalia with a score of 10 came in last.

According to the report, 69% of the 176 countries surveyed had scored below 50, adding that more countries have fallen in the index this year.

By Tarrence Tan

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