Malaysia drops five spots in corruption perceptions index ranking

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia dropped five places to be placed 62 out of 180 countries in the Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2021.

In 2020, Malaysia was ranked 57 out of 180 countries, scoring 51 out of 100 points.

“It is a worrying trend that we are seeing with our ranking dropping to 62,” said Transparency International Malaysia president Dr Muhammad Mohan during a press conference on Tuesday (Jan 25).

This year, Denmark, Finland and New Zealand are top in the index with 88 points each while Venezuela, Syria, Somalia and South Sudan are at the bottom of the index, with 14, 13, 13 and 11 points, respectively.

Among the Asean countries, Singapore was placed first followed by Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

Muhammad said the country has been seeing a downward trend for the past two years since the change of government in 2020 and 2021.

He said Malaysia has regressed as institutional reforms have stalled where there has been the lack of political will to table the Political Financing Bill, the watering down of the proposed Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill, and the lack of progress on reforms to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

“There has also been an acquittal or a discharge not amounting to an acquittal to high profile personalities in several corruption cases with no clear clarification from the Attorney-General’s Office, and there is also no closure yet on the two high impact cases to the country – the SRC International and the 1MDB case,” he said.

Muhammad added that several other factors also include the appointment of politicians without experience to head GLCs, the limited progress or public update on high profile cases such as the Wang Kelian, Sabah Water and the Littoral Combat Ship cases, the lack of progress on the amendments to the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010, continued adverse findings and governance failures observed in the Auditor General’s annual report, and the slow progress of the various initiatives under the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP).

Muhammad said they have recommended for the government to narrow the scope of the Official Secrets Act, to share information transparently including uploading data on all public contracts and providing regular updates on the status of high profile cases.

“We also urged for the government to monitor the implementation of the NACP, empower the chief secretary to the government to be responsible for the successful implementation and achievement of the NACP, to adopt the International Standards on Integrity Pact in Government Procurement for transparency and good governance as well as to improve the independence of the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC),” he said.

Among others, he also urged for the government to reform MACC to make it truly independent and for it to report to parliament, to amend the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010, and to enact an Asset Declaration Law.

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