Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Thursday, 19th November 2009:
In the past 15 years, Malaysia has become more corrupt, losing out not only to Taiwan and South Korea in Asia but likely to be overtaken by China, Thailand and India by 2020 and eventually even by Vietnam and Indonesia unless there is political will to stamp out corruption in Malaysia
Another black day for Parliament and for Malaysia’s anti-corruption campaign – when my motion for an emergency debate on Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2009 which saw Malaysia suffering the worst CPI rank of 56 and score of 4.5, as well as the worst single-year drop in CPI rank by nine placings from last year’s 47th position and fall of CPI score of 0.6 from last year’s 5.1, was rejected in chambers by the Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin as “not urgent”.
It is meaningless to talk about the TI CPI 2009 as a “wake-up” call, as it would appear that nothing is capable of waking up the Barisan Nasional government to clean up corruption in Malaysia except for a change of federal government in the next general elections.
A survey of the 15 annual reports of the TI CPI from 1995 to 2009 shows that Malaysia occupies dubious company, sharing with Philippines the dishonour of being two of the 12 Asian countries first surveyed in 1995 which had ended with both lower CPI ranking and score in CPI 2009 as compared to CPI 1995 – with Malaysia suffering a bigger drop in CPI score of .78 (5.28 in 1995; 4.5 in 2009) as compared to Philippines, which suffered a drop of .37 in the past 15 years (2.77 in 1995; 2.4 in 2009).
In the first TI CPI 1995 report, Malaysia was ranked the top fourth out of 12 Asian countries, behind Singapore (No. 3), Hong Kong (No. 17) and Japan (No. 20), but 15 years later, Malaysia has slipped to ninth placing out of 24 Asian countries ranked, behind Singapore (3), Hong Kong (12), Japan (17), Taiwan (37), Brunei (39), South Korea (39), Macau (43), Bhutan (49) – all before Malaysia (56).
The sad story told by the TI CPI series from 1995-2009 is that in the past 15 years, Malaysia has become more corrupt, losing out not only to Taiwan and South Korea in Asia but likely to be overtaken by China, Thailand and India by 2020 and eventually even by Vietnam and Indonesia unless there is political will to stamp out corruption and the rot in government in Malaysia.
In the first TI CPI 1995 report, the last two of the 41 countries surveyed were all from Asia, viz: China (No. 40) and Indonesia (No. 41) but both have made significant strides in anti-corruption efforts as illustrated as follows:
Even Thailand and India made significant strides in combating corruption in their CPI scores if not in ranking, as follows:
Vietnam was first included in the TI CPI 1997, ranked 43 out of 52 nations with 2.79 score. It is ranked No. 120 with a score of 2.7 in the TI CPI 2009.
All over Asia and the world, to enhance greater international competitiveness to promote greater economic development and growth, most countries are making great strides in institutional reforms particularly in cleaning up corruption in their economics and politics.
Malaysia stands out as moving in the opposite direction despite all the high-sounding rhetoric about integrity and war against corruption by one Prime Minister after another, like the recent establishment of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) which has become a Frankenstein.
MACC has declared war on Pakatan Rakyat to serve the political agenda of Umno/Barisan Nasional instead of discharging its statutory duties to professionally, independently and fearless declare war against corruption like Indonesia’s Komiti Pembenterasan Korupsi with 100 per cent corruption conviction against the “sharks” as compared to MACC’s record of zero conviction against the “sharks”.
Instead of TI CPI 2009 serving as a wake-up call, the Barisan Nasional government of Datuk Seri Najib Razak remains stubborn in its denial with the Minister for International Trade, Datuk Seri Mustapha Mohamad blaming the TI CPI and the methodology used instead of the increasingly rampant corruption in the country and the pervasive loss of national and international confidence in the BN government to declare an all-out war against corruption, as highlighted by MACC inaction or culpability in the various corruption scandals in the past few months, in particular the death of DAP aide Teoh Beng Hock at MACC headquarters in Shah Alam, the RM12.5billion PKFZ scandal, the Lingam Videotape scandal, etc. and continued government refusal to establish an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to create an efficient, incorruptible, professional world-class police service.
This is not only a great shame and infamy for Malaysia in international society but a great obstacle to any goal for Malaysia to become a developed high-income nation by 2020.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor