Next year will be a bad year for Malaysia’s TI CPI as UMNO/BN are set to spend billions to try to retain power in the 13GE

For the fourth consecutive year, the Najib premiership (2009-2012) has registered a lower ranking in the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2012 than under the two previous Prime Ministers, Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah.

In the first year of TI CPI in 1995, Malaysia was ranked 23rd out of 41 countries, plunging to No. 37th placing in 2003 when Mahathir stepped down as Prime Minister at the end of the year.

Despite all the Abdullah boast of “Mr. Clean”, “Modern-Day Justice Bao”, “all-out war against corruption” and “impending arrest of 18 ‘big fishes’”, Malaysia’s TI CPI continued on a headlong plunge in Abdullah’s five-year premiership, falling to No. 47 position in 2008.

But the four years of Najib premiership saw Malaysia’s TI CPI plunging to even lower depths – No. 56 in 2009 and 2010, No. 60 in 2011 and No. 54 in 2012.

As a result, the Najib premiership has the dubious record of being even more corrupt than all the previous five premierships, as no one has ever suggested that corruption under the first three Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein were more serious than their successors.

Until the seventies, the biggest scandal in Parliament was the RM65 million Bank Rakyat scandal which I debated in Parliament in 1979.

Since the eighties, corruption and financial scandals increased by leaps and bounds from the RM2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal, the RM600 million Maminco tin-buying scandal and the RM1.5 billion Co-operatives Finance scandal in the 80s, to the RM30 billion Bank Negara foreign exchange scandal and RM11 billion Perwaja scandal in the 90s, and current multi-billion ringgit Scorpene and defence procurement scandals and the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone scandal.

With the change in methodology in the present TI CPI, it is not possible to compare the TI CPI 2012 with the previous series of TI CPI of the past 17 years from 1995-2011.

As a result, nobody can really claim that Malaysia has achieved any improvement on the anti-corruption front from the TI CPI 2012, although this is what UMNO/BN leaders are doing.

However, as analysed earlier, what is incontrovertible and undeniable is that corruption under Najib’s four-year premiership is worse than the 51 years under Malaysia’s first five Prime Ministers.

What must be a matter of grave concern to all Malaysians is that Malaysia is set for a bad year for TI CPI next year as UMNO/BN would spend billions to try to retain power in the 13GE – taking money politics to new depths in the nation’s history.

I understand that the 2012 CPI covered data gathered between December 2011 and September 2012, which would mean Malaysia would have more adverse TI CPI ranking and score if the corruption exposes in October and November 2012 had been taken into account – especially the scandal of the RM40 million “political donation to Sabah UMNO” implicating Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and Sabah timber trader Michael Chia as well as the Bruno Manser foundation’s expose of unusual extraordinary wealth amounting to RM64 billion for the family of Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Taib Mahmud (and RM46 billion for himself alone) after 30 years as Sarawak Chief Minister.

At the recent UMNO General Assembly, some Sabah UMNO delegates had told online news portals that although they full support Musa Aman, they were in the dark about the RM40 million “political donation” to Sabah UMNO and they wanted Musa to personally explain the issue.

In the five-day UMNO General Assembly, Musa succeeded in evading the media and he has not yet given any satisfactory explanation to date about the RM40 million “political donation to Sabah UMNO”.

However, there were also Sabah UMNO delegates who dismissed the controversy on the ground that the RM40 million donation was pittance compared to the millions UMNO dished out during elections – with one Sabah UMNO delegate revealing that in the Putatan constituency in his home state, UMNO would have to spend up to RM6 million during the polls.

With 26 parliamentary constituencies in Sabah (and Labuan) and at the average of RM6 million per constituency, the total election expenses would exceed RM150 million at the parliamentary level – which would more than doubled when the election expenses in the state assembly constituencies are taken into account.

With UMNO/BN spending at least RM300 million in Sabah, another RM300 million in Sarawak, and similar election expenditures for the 165 Parliamentary seats and 441 State Assembly seats in the eleven states in Peninsular Malaysia, we are looking at the UMNO/BN coalition spending billions of ringgit to retain power and recapture two-thirds parliamentary majority at the federal level, recapture the four Pakatan Rakyat states of Penang, Kelantan, Selangor and Kedah, keep its unconstitutional rule in Perak, and retain power in the other states.

The billions of ringgit spent by UMNO/BN in the 13GE will the root cause of rampant corruption for the next five years after the 13GE if UMNO/BN remains ensconced in Putrajaya, as those who contributed to the billions of UMNO/BN election expenditures would expect to be amply rewarded, tenfold if not hundred-fold, after the 13GE.

This is why I say that next year will be a bad year for Malaysia’s TI CPI.

No wonder the Najib government is not prepared to celebrate the International Anti-Corruption Day yesterday, which had been designated by the United Nations General Assembly for the past nine years!

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur