TI CPI 2014 nothing for Najib to crow about when he has done worse in TI CPI rankings in his five years as PM than Abdullah’s five years and Mahathir’s 22 years

There is nothing for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to crow about for Malaysia’s improvement in Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2014, moving up to 50th spot among 175 countries from the 53rd position last year.

Although any improvement is to be welcomed, there is no ground for Najib to be ectastic to talk about “not rest on our laurels”, as Malaysia has yet to achieve any laurels on the anti-corruption front under his premiership.

For the sixth consecutive year, the Najib premiership (2009-2014) 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 1995-2014:

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 50 (2013) 52/100 (2013) 60 (2011) 4.3/10 (2011)

No wonder of Mahathir had always boasted 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).

Of course, 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 the multi-billion ringgit Scorpene and defence procurement scandals and the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone scandal in the last decade.

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.

Under Najib’s premiership, however, financial scandals have flown into the stratosphere in regions of tens of billions of ringgit as if the sky is the limit, like the 1MDB scandal and another burgeoning multi-billion ringgit Pembinaan PFI Sdn Bhd scandal.

Mahathir has blogged his deep frustration that there was no discussion on the 1MDB scandal, but it was the same during his time, as there was no discussion of the BMF, Co-operatives Finance, Perwaja, Bank Negara forex and Port Klang Free Zone mega-financial scandals in the UMNO General Assemblies when Mahathir was Prime Minister and UMNO President.

This is the strongest reason why UMNO and Barisan Nasional must be replaced in the next general elections (as Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin has admitted at the UMNO General Assembly, all it needs to accomplish this catalytic change is a shift of two per cent of voters away from UMNO/BN) as there can be no serious anti-corruption battle in Malaysia so long as UMNO/BN is in power.

There is another reason why there is nothing to crow about the TI CPI 2014 ranking – as Najib has surreptitiously kicked off Abdullah’s target of improving Malaysia’s 37th placing in 2003 (when he became Prime Minister) to 30th place in 2008 further down the road by another 12 years to 2020.

I do not think Najib expects to continue to be Prime Minister in 2020 (although there are people in UMNO who would want him to step down earlier) so he need not be responsible for meeting this target.

Can Najib explain why he had shifted Abdullah’s target of Malaysia achieving at least 30th placing in TI CPI by 12 years from 2008 to 2020?

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