New Malaysia must not only purge the epithet of “global kleptocracy” but we must be recognized by the world as a leading nation of integrity

Malaysia was reborn on 9th May 2018.

History was not only made on that day, the Pakatan Harapan PACAs (Polling Agent/Counting Agent) volunteers throughout the country became history-makers.

But work for the rebirth of Malaysia is not done, but only at the beginning. I invite the some 100,000 PACA volunteers who helped make history on May 9 to take a greater part in shaping national events to ensure that with the historic and watershed event on May 9, we continue to make history and do not become history!

From the moving, touching and unforgettable accounts of the representatives of various sections of the Pakatan Harapan Segambut campaign of the historic eleven days from Nomination Day on April 28 to Polling Day on May 9; the story of the blood, sweat and tears of Malaysians in the 14th General Election; we can feel the energy, spirit, hope and dream that is the very essence of being a Malaysian – where we forgot our differences, whether racial, religious, regional or socio-economic and worked for the common goal for the fulfillment of the Malaysian Dream where Malaysia will be a better country and all Malaysians can feel proud as a Malaysian.

For those memorable eleven days, Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region or socio-economic position, never felt so Malaysian. But this exhilarating experience of never felt so Malaysian must not be limited to the 11 days of the 14th General Election, but should be the everyday experience of our lives!

And on May 9, unbelievably, all Malaysians stood tall in the world and never felt so proud as Malaysians – Malaysians in the country and all over the world in the Malaysian Diaspora.

Tunku Abdul Rahman’s hope when Merdeka was achieved in 1957 and Malaysia formed in 1963 that our nation can be “a beacon of light in a troubled and difficult world” was given substance and meaning.

But this should not be like fireworks which vanishes into the dark sky on the night of May 9, as we want the world to regard Malaysia as a “beacon on light in troubled and difficult world” not just for one day, but in the coming years in the international community of nations.

Much work needs to be done to reset nation-building directions and policies which had trapped the country in the trajectory towards a failed, rogue and kleptocratic Malaysia.

One of the immediate objectives and challenges is to build a New Malaysia which could purge the country of the epithet of global kleptoracy and be recognized by the world as a leading nation of integrity.

Under the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2017, Malaysia plunged to the lowest TI CPI ranking in 23 years – No. 62 out of 180 countries.

The history of the 23-year annual TI CPI from 1995-2017 shows that Malaysia had stagnated and even regressed in integrity and principles of accountability and good governance in the past two decades as compared to some countries, like China and Indonesia, which had made significant improvements with steady strides.

In the first year of TI CPI in 1995, which listed only 41 countries, Malaysia was ranked in the middling position of No. 23 with a score above the midpoint – i.e. 5.28 in a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean).

China and Indonesia came in at the bottom end, with China ranked as No. 40 with a score of 2.16 out of 10 while Indonesia came in last ranking No. 41 out of 41 with a score of 1.94.

If Malaysia had made a decimal improvement in the TI CPI score of 0.1 point each year the past 22 years, Malaysia’s present score would have been 7.58, or roughly translated into 75.8 out of a scale increased from 10 to 100, which would have placed Malaysia in the rank of No. 16 out of 180 countries.

Unfortunately, Malaysia’s 2017 TI CPI ranking and score had worsened, ranked No. 62 out of 180 countries with the TI CPI score plunging further down below the midpoint to 47/100 in the revised scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

In contrast, both China and Indonesia have continued to make significant improvements in the TI CPI in the past 23 years, with China improving its score from 2.16/10 in 1995 (under the original scale) to 41/100 (revised scale) with its TI CPI Ranking improving from No. 40/41 in 1995 to 77/180 in 2017 and while Indonesia upped its score from 1.94/10 (old scale) in 1995 to 37/100 (new scale), with TI CPI ranking from 41/41 in 1995 to 96/180.

If China continues to improve its TI CPI score at the annual average rate of 0.84 points (old scale) in the past 23 years, China would overtake Malaysia in both TI CPI ranking and score in eight years time (41 + 6.7 = 47.7) without Malaysia regressing further in TI score (which is a tall order under Najib’s global kleptocracy!).

In the past 23 years, Indonesia’s improvement on the TI CPI score is lower than China, making an average annual improvement of 0.76 (old scale). Without Malaysia further regressing, Indonesia will overtake Malaysia in both TI ranking and score in 14 years time, when it would have registered a score of 37 + 10.6 = 47.6.

I do not want to see China and Indonesia slow down in their upward climb up the TI CPI ranking and score, but Malaysia must improve substantially so that we not only eradicate the “kleptocratic” label but become a leading nation of integrity by being among the first top countries of integrity in the annual TI CPI.

To do this, we must not only get to the bottom of the 1MDB scandal, “kleptocracy at its worst”, and other major corruption scandals involving MARA, FELDA,
Tabung Haji, even more important, we must introduce structural and institutional reforms as well mind-set changes throughout our society so that we have a zero-tolerance for corruption.

(Speech at the Segambut PACA Volunteers Appreciation Night at Bukit Damansara, Segambut on Monday, May 28, 2018 at 9 pm)

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