Instead of being in top 30 of TI CPI in 2020, Malaysia faces risk of being overtaken by China and even Indonesia in both TI CPI ranking and score

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and CEO of Performance Management Delivery Unit (Pemandu) Datuk Seri Idris Jala is ecstatic about Malaysia’s rise from 54 to 53 in Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) this year, declaring that Pemandu is aiming for the country to be in the top 30 by 2020.

Yes, Malaysia’s TI CPI ranking this year has improved by one step, placed 53 out of 177 countries compared to last year’s 54th ranking, while the TI CPI score has improved to 50/100 compared to last year’s 49/100.

However, the ineluctable fact is that for the fifth consecutive year, the Najib premiership (2009-2013) has registered a lower TI CPI ranking than under the two previous Prime Ministers, Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah.

This is illustrated by the following chart on TI CPI 1995-2013:

Prime Minister Best ranking Best score Worst ranking Worst score
Mahathir 23(1995) 5.32/10 (1996) 37 (2003) 4.8/10 (2000)
Abdullah 39(2004) 5.1/10 (2005/7/8) 47 (2008) 5/10 (2004/6)
Najib 53 (2013) 50/100 (2013) 60 (2011) 4.3/10 (2011)

In a sense, the TI CPI 2013 is a vindication of Mahathir’s boast two days ago that corruption is worse now than during his 22 years as Prime Minister (although Abdullah can also make the same boast about his five-year premiership).

However, Mahathir had blissfully ignored another reality – that it was under his 22-year premiership that Malaysia started the slide and plunge into the morass of corruption, as under the first three Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn, corruption was never a major problem and was well under control.

In fact, until the seventies, the biggest scandal in Parliament was the RM65 million Bank Rakyat scandal which I debated in Parliament in 1979.

Since the eighties, corruption and financial scandals increased by leaps and bounds from the RM2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal, the RM600 million Maminco tin-buying scandal and the RM1.5 billion Co-operatives Finance scandal in the 80s, to the RM30 billion Bank Negara foreign exchange scandal and RM11 billion Perwaja scandal in the 90s, and current multi-billion ringgit Scorpene and defence procurement scandals and the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone scandal.

The root of corruption – money politics in government parties – instead of being curbed has taken on wings, as it has been estimated by UMNO inner circles that it takes more than RM10 million to win a seat as UMNO Vice President and more than a million ringgit to win as a UMNO supreme council member.

Massive money politics is not also spared in MCA and MIC party elections – till the MCA President accepted it as a fact in MCA party elections when he advised MCA delegates in the forthcoming MCA party elections to emulate the voters in the 13GE by “Take Money; Don’t give votes” (as emblazoned in a Chinese newspaper headline).

Studying the TI CPI 2013 ranking and score for the 177 countries and the 19-year series of TI CPI from 1995-2013, there is no reason or ground for anyone to believe that the target of Malaysia being ranked in the top 30 of TI CPI in 2020 is a realistic or achievable one.

In fact, come 2020, Malaysia races the risk of being overtaken by China and even Indonesia in both TI CPI ranking and score, when in the first TI CPI in 1995, Malaysia was ranked No. 23 out of 41 countries with a score of 5.28 out of 10, while China and Indonesia were ranked as the last two bottom countries with CPI score of 2.16 and 1.94 out of 10 respectively (i.e. hovering in the lowest 90 percentile of the CPI score).

If Malaysia is to occupy the top 30 percentile of the CPI index in 2020, we must achieve at least the top 35 percentile of the CPI score and not just 50/100, as the scores of the five countries ranked from 26th to 30th in the TI CPI 2013 index are Austria UAE 69/100, Estonia Qatar 68/100 and Botswana 64/100.

However, in the last 19 years, Malaysia achieved the dubious distinction as one of the countries which had been downgraded both in TI CPI ranking and score, but had lost out to countries which had lower CPI ranking and score in 1995 and is also now at risk of being overtaken by countries including China and Indonesia which had been at the bottom of TI CPI in 1995.

For instance, Malaysia ranked No. 23 with CPI score of 5.28/10 in 1995, was ahead of Taiwan (Rank 25 Score 5.08), Spain (R 26 Sc 4.35), South Korea (R 27 Sc 4.29) Hungary (R 28 Sc 4.12) and Turkey (R29 Sc 4.10) but in the 2013 TI CPI have lost out to Taiwan (R 36 Sc 61), Spain (R 40 Sc 59), South Korea (R 46 Sc 55), Hungary (R 47 Sc 54) and been caught up by Turkey (R 53 Sc 50).

Unlike Malaysia, which has achieved a lower percentile score in the past 19 years, i.e. 5.28/10 in 1995 to 50/100 in 2013, all other countries in Asia have improved on their percentile score in the past 19 years from 1995 to 2013, eg. Thailand from 2.79/10 to 35/100; India from 2.78/10 to 36/100; Philippines from 2.77/10 to 36/100; Pakistan from 2.25/10 to 28/100; China from 2.16/10 to 40/100 and Indonesia from 1.94/10 to 32/100.

What should concern all Malaysians is that from these trends, Malaysia runs the risk of being overtaken by both Indonesia and China before 2020 in the annual TI CPI both in ranking and score unless Malaysia quickly buck up and show its seriousness on the anti-corruption front.

How are Malaysians going to hold their heads high when the world perceive Malaysia as being even more corrupt than Indonesia and China before the end of the decade?

Is this the fate awaiting Malaysia in the TI CPI ranking and score before 2020?

  1. #1 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 - 3:54 pm

    I thought Malaysia is an Islamic nation and UMNO, the big brother of the BN government, are all Muslims?

    Cakap tak serupa bikin.
    Hell awaits hypocrites.

  2. #2 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 - 5:56 pm

    Hell will do ‘hudud’ on every of these racist and sinful Muslims.

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 - 6:30 pm

    Malaysia is way behind a least developed country, Bhutan (rank 31, score 63) in the TI CPI. This is what the country gets when BN keeps “promoting” BUY-elections.

  4. #4 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 - 7:54 pm

    Sakmongkol AK 47 with guns blazing:

    “Petronas is the ATM for the thieving political leadership.”

    Was this considered in the TI CPI?

    If not, would that have caused a plunge into the abyss?

    Malaysians are waiting for some juicy tales from ex-PM and ex-Adviser, PETRONAS.

  5. #5 by cinaindiamelayubersatu on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 - 9:50 pm

    Masuk puteri kejar kontrak….Azalina cakap

  6. #6 by Noble House on Thursday, 5 December 2013 - 3:41 am

    When it comes to facts and figures, it is always the case with two different answers when put together the government’s roles as regulator. What it proposed to do with and the disposal of corruption cases in the country are meant to be heard and not seen. That’s the reality confronting us.

    Education is a good example. The latest PISA survey ranked Malaysia as one point ahead of Indonesia at the bottom.

  7. #7 by boh-liao on Thursday, 5 December 2013 - 4:26 am

    How LOW can U go? Limbo rock now

  8. #8 by sotong on Thursday, 5 December 2013 - 10:38 am

    Look back 30 years where the seed of corruption was planted with bad leadership and gross mismanagement.

    It will get worst before it starts to slowing improve. There is no quick fix.

  9. #9 by Rufus Mallu on Thursday, 5 December 2013 - 6:21 pm

    Corruption seems to have well nestled in the lifestyles of the government & corporate entities. So much so, sometimes we cant even judge when an act is a corrupt practice or when it is a gesture of goodwill! Until & unless corruption is tackled with stiff & efficient enforcement, we cannot expect much in raising the ratings here :(

  10. #10 by undertaker888 on Friday, 6 December 2013 - 8:15 am

    What’s the corruption index was like before mahathir?

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