Malaysia’s rank on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) in 2015 has dropped by four points to 54, compared with 50 in 2014, trailing behind other developing countries such as Jordan (45), Namibia (45) and Rwanda (44).
The country’s score also dropped by two points to 50 in 2015 from 52 in 2014, said global graft monitor Transparency International.
Malaysia was also among the list of countries whose scores declined but its score was still the second highest in the Southeast Asian region, said TI’s Malaysia branch in a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.
Other countries whose scores also declined in the region are the Philippines, Japan and Hong Kong.
TI-M president Datuk Akhbar Satar said one of the reasons for the drop was the perception that there was interference with the local anti-corruption agency’s ability to investigate public officials.
This was seen in how Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) officers were investigated by police and their offices were raided in August and September 2015, he said.
These raids occurred just as the agency’s probe into the funds that had flowed into the Prime Minister’s accounts was shifting into high gear.
The CPI uses data from eight secondary expert studies on corruption, crime and justice issues all over the world to measure perceived levels of public sector corruption.
In 2015, Malaysia’s score in four of the eight expert studies had dropped. These studies surveyed respondents on whether they thought public officials used their positions for private gain and whether officials who abused their offices were prosecuted.
Malaysia’s rankings in the three previous years hovered at around the same level but it reached its highest in 2014 where it scored 52 points and ranked 50 out of all countries worldwide. The country scored 50 in 2013 and 49 in 2012.
“This year, there were five countries that did not make into the index. If they had been, we would have ranked lower this year at about 59 or 60,” said Akhbar.
The top five countries in the 2015 CPI were Denmark, Finland, Sweden, New Zealand and the Netherlands.
At number 8, Singapore was the top ranking Asian country in the 2015 CPI followed by Hong Kong and Japan both of which were ranked at 18.
Akhbar also gave other reasons Malaysia’ score had not improved and the country’s progress remained stagnant for the past few years.
These included weak enforcement despite good anti-graft laws, the lack of independence in MACC itself and a civil service culture of tolerating corruption among their political superiors. – January 27, 2016.