KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2019 jumped 10 places to 51 compared to the previous year, Transparency International Malaysia (TI) revealed today.
It scored 53 points compared to 47 points in the 2018 index when it was ranked 61 out of 180 countries surveyed.
A higher score indicates better public perception.
TI’s CPI measures public sector corruption including bribery, diversion of public funds, use of public office for private gain, and nepotism in the civil service.
Singapore occupied the fourth spot, scoring 85 points, while Indonesia was ranked 85th.
Thailand and the Philippines were ranked 101st and 113th respectively.
Malaysia also ranked fourth among the 10 Islamic counties surveyed, tying with Saudi Arabia.
The United Arab Emirates occupies the top spot among Muslim countries, followed by Qatar and Brunei.
TI-M president Muhammad Mohan said among the reasons for Malaysia’s improved score was the swift action by the Pakatan Harapan administration in addressing the 1MDB, SRC International, Felda and Tabung Haji scandals when they came into power.
This, he said, was followed by the arrest of several political figures who were later charged by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
Other factors for the improved ranking include greater media freedom, asset declaration by PH members of parliament, the Corporate Liability Provision (Section 17A) which will be enforced in June and the government’s five-year National Anti-Corruption Plan.
Muhammad also said that while the present government had done a lot to improve the ranking, it still did not know how to communicate its achievements to the public.
“There are some good things done, but it must be conveyed to the public or they wouldn’t know.”
Muhammad urged the people, including civil servants and enforcement officers, to help the country achieve a higher score next year.
“Otherwise, when we come back next year, we might see a lower score,” he told reporters.
When asked what his expectations were for the 2020 CPI ranking, Muhammad said there were only two options, either up or down.
“There are still a lot of institutional reforms that have been delayed.”
Muhammad said Putrajaya should accelerate institutional reforms such as making the MACC more independent, pushing for the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) bill and enact a political financing law.
The government, he said, should also regularly engage with the public and civil societies to update them on the progress of reforms and get feedback.