Will Malaysia slide down to its lowest ranking and score in 22 years in Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2016 which will be released in a fortnight’s time?
I do dread the TI CPI 2016 release, as the past year had been one of the worst years on the corruption front for Malaysia.
Malaysia which dropped four places in the TI CPI 2016, falling from No. 50 to No. 54, and the CPI score slipped from 52 in 2014 to 50 in 2015, would have fallen lower in ranking in TI CPI 2015 if five countries, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Puerto Rico and St Vincent – which had been ranked higher than Malaysia – had not been excluded due to technical reasons like not meeting three minimum secondary sources for research.
The TI CPI 2015 had not taken into account the last bad news on the Malaysian corruption front on the last few days of the 2015, when Malaysia was rated third in international website, foreignpolicy.com’s “worst corruption scandal in 2015”.
In the past year, Malaysian was inundated with bad news on the corruption front, ranked second in TIME magazine “global corruption” ranking in March, second placing in Economist’s second index of crony capitalism in May, the subject of the largest kleptocratic action by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) when it filed legal suits in California in July to forfeit US$1 billion of 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland resulting from a US$3.5 billion international money-laundering conspiracy.
Since then, the 1MDB, the Malaysian government and in particular “Malaysian Official 1” (MO1) have been on the run from an endless spate of negative developments and reports about ever-expanding international investigations and even criminal convictions and imprisonment of former bank officials connected to the 1MDB international money-laundering activities.
The latest report is that the Australian Federal Police have joined the international bandwagon of investigations into the international 1MDB money-laundering scandal.
In October, Malaysia again made it into the world league in the Sabah Watergate scandal, where MACC itself said that 60 per cent of the RM3.3 billion earmarked by the federal government to improve water supply to Sabahans had been “siphoned off” by corruption, and where the MACC had the biggest ever seizure in its 49-year history, recovering RM114 million from the two top officials of the Sabah Water Department – including RM53.7 million in cold hard cash in Malaysian and various foreign currencies which took more than 30 MACC officers 15 hours to count!
Even without taking into account the latest negative developments on the corruption front in the first ten days of January – the “gutting” of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) with the winding down of the MACC Special Operations Division (Bahagian Operasi Khas or BOK) and the early retirement by its former Special Operations Division director, Bahri Mohd Zin, because of dissatisfaction with the MACC’s investigations into the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the SRC International scandal and why the SRC International case was never brought to court – can the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the MACC assure the country that Malaysia would not plunge to the lowest ranking and score in the 22-year series of the annual TI CPI 2016 when it is announced in a fortnight’s time?