‘CPI not suitable to measure graft’

KUALA LUMPUR: Mere perception is not a benchmark to measure the corruption level in a developing country like Malaysia, says London-based Integrity Action founder Fredrik Galtung.

As such, Malaysia should come up with another key performance indicator other than Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) as a graft-measuring meter, he said.

Galtung said the CPI had a high degree of generality and inconclusiveness.

“It is not appropriate to have the CPI as a key performance indicator in Malaysia, because it is too macro with a big margin for error,” said Galtung, who was here for a conference at the Malaysian Integrity Institute (MII).

Galtung said a good example of the CPI’s possible error was China, Surinam and Bolivia that had the same score in the 2014 CPI listing.

“So, what does it mean with these three countries share the same score?” asked Galtung, pointing out that the three countries did not share a common total volume of corruption or the same quantum of population.

He said it was the ultimate aim of every country, including Malaysia, to make it to the top 30 of the CPI list by 2020.

Galtung said the current top 30 countries could be compartmentalised into two categories – the small and the patient.

The countries in the patient category took 75 to 150 years to get to low levels under the CPI list, while small countries, such as Singapore, Georgia and Estonia, had a population of less than 10 million, he said.

Galtung added that Malaysia should not follow the strategies of the top 30 countries, but should instead develop a different and exclusive strategy.

He said the CPI’s lack of efficacy had led his organisation to formulate another key performance indicator called the fix-rate, which was a more comprehensive and conclusive tool.

Fix-rate measures the action taken to counter integrity and corruption issues and the results achieved.

He said the approach taken by Integrity Action when formulating fix-rate revolved around four main questions – how can regular citizens make a difference to improve public services by reducing fraud and corruption? How will we know we are making a difference. How can we best teach integrity and finally how can we compete with integrity.

He added that the fix-rate also focused on resolution of problems to the satisfaction of the main stakeholders.

The fix-rate could determine the percentage of the Auditor-General’s recommendations that have been implemented as well as the percentage of prosecution of alleged corruption cases that had led to conviction.

Galtung said the numbers would create a baseline and the country could work towards increasing it over time.

According to Galtung, the fix-rate could be first implemented as an indicator at the local government and state levels.

He said state governments should also set-up integrity and accountability committees to use the fix-rate as an indicator to set their own index.

Galtung added that the presence and work done by the MII and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commis-sion also made Malaysia a fertile ground for the use of the fix-rate.

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