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Abdullah doing his record and campaign against corruption a grave disservice by casting doubt on TI CPI 2006 because of its five-ranking plunge for Malaysia from 39th to 44th place
(Parliament, Friday) : The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has done his record and campaign against corruption a grave disservice in casting doubt on Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2006 because of its five-ranking plunge for Malaysia from 39th to 44th place.
In his keynote address at the National Integrity Day 2006 forum yesterday, Abdullah made the cynical remark that “since the index is based on perception, it therefore differs from the reality”.
He has also succumbed to the latest variation of the denial syndrome when he said that “it was possible that others perceived corruption had not decreased due to the greater openness in the media which has been actively reporting corruption cases”.
This is perverse illogic, which was typical of the era of the former Mahathir administration. I feel sad and sick that such a disease seems to have now afflicted the present Abdullah premiership.
Going by this perverse illogic, utterly corrupt countries where there is total media censorship where there could be no reports about corruption – like Myanmar. Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan – should rank very high among the “least corrupt” nations in the TI CPI, when in fact these countries are ranked as among the world’s most corrupt countries in the index.
How can Abdullah now cast doubt on the TI CPI just because of its adverse indices in the three years of his premiership, falling from 37th position when Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad retired in 2003 to the present 44th ranking, when in April 2004, he had launched the National Integrity Plan (PIN) with a five-year objective from 2004-2008 to achieve the target of improving Malaysia’s 37th placing in the TI CPI 2003 to 30th place and a CPI score of 6.5 in 2008 as compared to 5.2 in 2003.
Is Abdullah going to scrap the National Integrity Plan and abandon its most important target of being ranked at least 30TH place in the TI CPI 2008 as a result of the present 44th placing in the TI CPI 2006?
I can still remember seven years ago, the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) taking public pride in the 1998 TI CPI when Malaysia made a three-ranking improvement from No. 32 in the 1997 CPI to No. 29.
Since then, however, there had been nothing for Malaysians to look forward to, as it had been a sad history of unmitigated plunge, as illustrated by the following box:
Corruption Perception Index of Malaysia, 1995-2006
Abdullah must face up to the fact that his three-year premiership is facing a crisis of confidence over the whole spectrum of his reform pledge and agenda – in particular his promise to lead a clean and incorruptible government with an all-out war against corruption.
He must provide leadership and set a personal example of being “clean and seen to be clean” if his reform pledge to fight corruption is not to fizzle out completely and become totally discredited.
His call yesterday to the courts to quickly hear and hand down judgments for corruption cases is appropriate, but completely inadequate and unequal to the task of addressing the crisis of confidence arising from his failure in the past three years to make any mark in the war against corruption, which has now been given international confirmation in the adverse TI CPI 2006.
Abdullah must be capable of stronger, more effective and purposeful responses to the TI CPI 2006, including:
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman