Will Najib take a leaf from Hu Jintao and give prominence to the grave problem of corruption in Malaysia?

China's President and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Secretary Hu Jintao warned at the 18th CCP Congress over the weekend that corruption could trigger the collapse of the Party and the fall of the State.

Would the Prime Minister and Umno President Datuk Seri Najib Razak take a leaf from Hu Jintao and give prominence to the grave problem of corruption in Malaysia in his Umno Presidential Address at the Umno General Assembly?

There is in fact more reason for Najib than Hu Jintao to give priority to the grave problem of corruption as in the last two decades, China have been making measurable progress in the battle against corruption while the reverse is the case for Malaysia.

In the first year of the annual Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in 1995, China was ranked in the lowly position of No.40 out of 43 countries with a CPI score of 2.16.

In contrast, Malaysia was ranked No. 23 with CPI score of 5.28 - sixth for Asian-Pacific nations after New Zealand (No. 1 - CPI score 9.5), Singapore (No. 3 - 9.2), Australia (No. 7 - 8.8), Hong Kong (No. 17- 7.12) and Japan (No. 20 - 6.72).

Seventeen years later, in the 2011 TI CPI, China was ranked No. 75 out of 183 countries with a CPI score of 3.6 - an improvement of 1.44 marks in 17 years - while Malaysia suffered the rare double ignominy of a worse ranking of No.60 with a worse score of 4.3.

In the past 17 years, Malaysia's CPI score fell by more than one full point compared to Malaysia's best CPI score of 5.32 in 1996.

If the trend of China's improvement in the TI CPI and Malaysia's regression continues unchecked, China will be placed in a better position in the TI CPI in less than five years.

Already in the past 17 years, Malaysia has lost her position as the sixth top Asian-Pacific nation in the TI CPI 1995 to another five countries,namely Taiwan, Bhutan, South Korea,Brunei and Macao while other countries like Thailand, Indonesia and even Philippines are closing the gap to overtake Malaysia.

To illustrate the gravity of Malaysia's worsening corruption problem, Malaysia has also been overtaken by six Islamic countries when in 1997, Malaysia stood head and shoulders over all other Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) countries in terms of transparency and accountability.

Umno and Barisan Nasional have become synonymous with corruption in Malaysia and the 43 months of Najib premiership have shown that Najib is only good at mouthing anti-corruption slogans but totally lacking the political will and commitment to root out corruption, especially grand corruption involving political and government leaders.

Only a change of government, from BN to Pakatan Rakyat in Putrajaya, can create the conditions for a serious war against corruption to introduce a new political culture of zero tolerance against corruption.

This will be one of the priorities of a Pakatan Rakyat government in Putrajaya, starting with a Royal Commission of Inquiry into corruption including a full-scale inquiry into the scandal of the RM40million currency trafficking and laundering involving Sabah Chief Minister Datik Seri Musa Aman and Sabah timber trader Michael Chia.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur