Malaysia drops seven spots in anti-graft ladder

Transparency International (TI) Malaysia president Datuk Akhbar Satar (left) and secretary-general Muhammad Mohan at a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur February 22, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — Malaysia’s global ranking in Transparency International’s (TI) annual Corruption Perception Index (CPI) has declined again, falling to 62 out of 180 countries surveyed last year.

Its Malaysian chapter president Datuk Akhbar Satar, said this is the worst ranking adding that several high profile scandals, including the jailing of whistleblower Rafizi Ramli contributed to this.

In 2016, Malaysia ranked 55th out of 176 countries.

Akbar said Malaysia is on par with Cuba, Romania and just behind Saudi Arabia in terms of ranking.

The main driving issues behind the poor showing are perceived impunity by those believed to be engaged in large scale graft.

“This on top of jailing of whistleblowers and a political financing law (that) is still in the works.

“Especially on whistleblowers... those who have exposed wrongdoings have been jailed. Most countries are working hard to implement such legislation but Malaysia seems to be going in reverse.”

CIP is a global aggregate index capturing the perception of corruption in the public sector.

Corruption is defined by the study as the abuse of power for private gain.

It uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupted and 100 is clean.

The index ranks countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people.

New Zealand topped the list followed by Denmark, Finland, Norway and Switzerland while the bottom of the barrel included Yemen, Sudan, Afghanistan and Somalia.

In 2015, Malaysia was ranked 54 out of 168 countries, with a score of 50 and last year Malaysia ranked 55 among 176 countries, with a score of 49 out of 100.

Malaysia, which scored 47 points, went down seven places in the overall ranking of 180 countries to 62nd place.

Akhbar said the one bright spot in the country’s fight against graft was the success of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) which had aggressively pursued cases.

“The MACC has proven itself to be a capable and credible organisation and through its efforts we have not fallen any lower on the CPI,” he said.

“Malaysia has very good laws but the rate of prosecution, enforcement  and the effectiveness of the Attorney-General Chambers must be improved otherwise the MACC, which is understaffed and lacks resources, will face a losing battle.”