Corruption Perception Index: Malaysia records worst score in a decade, but goes up one spot

(MMO) – Malaysia continued its slide in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) measured by global watchdog Transparency International (TI), managing only 47 out of 100 possible points — its worst performance in a decade.

Muhammad Mohan, the chairman of the local chapter TI-Malaysia, said despite an increase in the ranking to 61st out of 108 countries compared to 62nd previously, Malaysia’s score continued to fall after reaching its height of 53 points in 2019.

“It is not a good sign as it shows that we are moving in the wrong direction. We have dropped six points in the last three years which is statistically significant. We are even below countries such as Namibia and Rwanda.

“We have to turn around this downward trend,” he told reporters when presenting the 2022 Malaysia CPI report here.

Muhammad said among the nine surveys that determine the CPI score, Malaysia had dropped significant points in the 2022 World Economic Forum executive opinion survey from 54 to 47 points, while dropping from 48 to 45 points in the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index Expert Survey for the same period.

He listed the reasons for the low score, which included the lack of political will in fighting institutional corruption in the government, huge Covid-19 pandemic stimulus packages that were rolled out without parliamentary debate and scrutiny, appointing unqualified politicians to head government-linked companies, and the reluctance to firmly address cost overruns such as the Littoral Combat Ship project.

He highlighted the comment by newly-elected Ministry of Defence Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan who asked the public to “move on” from the LCS scandal.

“If you don’t investigate or come out with reports and white paper, then what and when will we learn? By saying let’s move on, I think it is not correct…the score would not improve and next year we will be talking about this again.

“We need the vessels but please don’t ignore or it will happen again,” he said.

However, Muhammad pointed to some positive developments such as the memorandum of understanding between the Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s government and Pakatan Harapan in 2022 which paved the way for several institutional reforms.

He also lauded the new Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim government’s commitment to good governance, fighting corruption and judicial independence, mandatory competitive bidding for procurement contracts and review of certain high-value projects.

“He addressed the issues raised in the Auditor-General’s Report and called the ministers to act on the report of leakages and corruption in their ministries. It’s good but this is basic, I’m very surprised the previous ministers don’t even look at the report,” he said, referring to Anwar.

Denmark placed first with a score of 90, followed by New Zealand and Finland with 87. Neighbouring Singapore placed fifth.

Three in 10 Asia-Pacific countries scored lower than 50 points, with Malaysia one of them.