How will Malaysia fare in the TI CPI 2021 which will be released later today in Berlin

I woke up this morning to a major AFP anti-corruption story “Communist Party expels 3 senior Chinese officials for corruption” which states that three senior Chinese officials—including a former top banking regulator—have been expelled from the ruling Communist Party for alleged corruption and placed under criminal investigation.

The expulsions come days after Chinese authorities vowed “no mercy” in their ongoing anti-corruption campaign, which has brought down high-flying politicians and influential tycoons, ahead of a key political meeting that could secure President Xi Jinping a third term.

More than a million officials had already been netted in China’s anti-corruption campaign.

The three senior Chinese officials who were latest to be netted were Cai Esheng, former vice chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, as well as former supreme court official Meng Xiang and former deputy director of the national food administration Xu Ming who have all been expelled for “serious violation of discipline and laws”, according to China’s graft watchdog.

China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said all three men were suspected of accepting bribes and “illegally receiving assets of massive value” as well as using their positions to help others further their personal interests.

The officials allegedly accepted inappropriately lavish banquets and violated the party’s principles, the commission added.

The commission accused Cai in particular of “complete political degeneration”, “severely disrupting the order of the financial market” and engaging in “transactions of money and sex”.

All three men’s cases have been transferred to public prosecutors, the commission said—usually a sign of impending criminal charges.

The commission last week warned it would show “no mercy” against corruption within the ruling party, promising to continue its anti-graft crackdown ahead of October’s 20th party congress, where Xi is widely expected to be handed a third term in office.

Those convicted of corruption can be stripped of their wealth and party membership, and face a lifetime behind bars or even death.

What do we have on anti-corruption in Malaysia?

For close to a month, there had been both government and parliamentary paralysis on Azam-gate, where the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Chief Commissioner had lost all confidence of the country as he has failed as the prime example of integrity, probity and accountability in the public service, to the extent that the youths of Malaysia, regardless of race, religion or politics, united in a “Tangkap Azam Baki”: demonstration in Kuala Lumpur which had the unanimous approval of Malaysians.

Malaysia continued to be the laughing stock of the world – where in the world do you have a nation where the head of the anti-corruption agency is the target of the largest anti-corruption scandal of the country?

Later today, Transparency International (TI) will be releasing its Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2021 index.

How will Malaysia fare?

I had said that the TI CPI 2019 Report was the best in 25 year since tI started its annual CPI series in 1995, as it heralded a new era of anti-corruption in Malaysia giving hope that Malaysia can become one of the world’s top 30 countries in public integrity before 2030.

Malaysia’s TI CPI 2019 score of 53 out of 100 is just short of Malaysia’s top score of 5.32 out of 10 in the TI CPI 1996 which placed Malaysia on the ranking of 26 out of 54 countries.

Malaysia should aim not onto to exceed the results in the TI CPI 1996, but should also aim to achieve the objective of being ranked among the world top 30 countries in public integrity before 2030.

Then disaster on the anti-corruption front struck.

The TI CPI 2019 was released on 23rd January 2020. A month later, on 26th February 2020, the Pakatan Harapan government was toppled after 22 months by the Sheraton Move conspiracy, ushering in two backdoor and illegitimate governments.

In the TI CPI 2020 released on 29th January 2021, Malaysia fell in score from 53 points to 51 points, which resulted in six- point fall in ranking from No. 51 to 57.

A Malaysian who had been intimately involved with past TI CPIs warned that worst is to come.

He said: “It takes time to drop significantly since some of the data (surveys) used were 2018/2019. Next year we can big changes.”

If he is right, then we have reason to be worried for we are faced with the question whether Malaysia is heading towards the lowest TI CPI score and rank in TI CPI 2021 which is to be revealed later today.

One of the things which concerns me when Transparency International releases its annual Corruption Perception Index every year is how Malaysia is faring with two nations, China and Indonesia, which were regarded in the past as very corrupt nations.

In fact, in the first of the TI’s annual CPI series from 1995, China and Indonesia were ranked 40th and 41st, the last two of the list of 41 countries surveyed.

China scored 2.16 while Indonesia scored 1,94 out of 10 points in 1995. Malaysia was ranked No. 23rd with score of 5.28 out of 10 points.

China and Indonesia are now far from the most corrupt nations in the world, which are occupied by the most corrupt five – Venezuela and Yemen with score of 15 out of 100 points in the TI CPI 2020, Syria with 14 points and Somalia and South Sudan both with 12 points out of 180 countries surveyed.

Both China and Indonesia have improved considerably in the last 26 years and China is now ranked No. 78 with a score of 42 while Indonesia is ranked 102 with a score of 37.

While both China and Indonesia have improved considerably in their TI CPI scores, Malaysia had regressed considerably, with a score of 51 and ranking of 57 out of 180 nations.

Malaysia’s TI CPI ranking fell to the lowest level of No. 62 out of 180 countries in 2017 while the TI CPI score fell to the lowest level 4.3 out of 10 in 2011.

The country was promised that under the UMNO-BN regime in the last decade Malaysia will achieve the target to be in the top 30 countries in the TI CPI 2020.

Studying the TI CPI ranking and score for the 24-year series of TI CPI from 1995-2018, there was no ground for anyone to believe that the target of Malaysia being ranked in the top 30 countries of TI CPI 2020 could be achieved.

From the TI CPI record from 2010-2018, it is likely that China would have overtaken Malaysia in the TI CPI series before 2030 and Indonesia overtaken Malaysia after 2030.

Countries which had been down on the list of the TI CPI ranking in the first series in 1995, like China, Thailand, India and Indonesia, were fast catching up to Malaysia’s level, which had regressed since 1995.

Fortunately, this trajectory was stopped when the Pakatan Harapan government took over, and in the TI CPI 2019, although China improved both its TI CPI rank and score to No. 80 and 41 points out of 100, Malaysia achieved the best TI CPI performance in 25 years with a single-year improvement of six points for TI CPI score and 10 placings for TI CPI ranking – a ranking of No. 51 and score of 53 out of the 100.

Malaysia was poised for a new era of anti-corruption in Malaysia by achieving better TI CPI score and ranking every year from TI CPI 2019, and embark Malaysia on the road to become one of the world’s top 30 countries in public integrity before 2030.

But the Pakatan Harapan government was short-lived, as it was toppled by the Sheraton Move conspiracy which brought in two backdoor and illegitimate Governments.

Now we are back on the slippery slope of corruption as before the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018 and the TI CPI 2021 is likely to see “big changes” for the worse – with Malaysia heading for the worst TI CPI ranking and score in history.

We await with trepidation the TI CPI 2011 Report, which will be released later today.

The TI CPI 2011 Report should be top on the agenda of the Cabinet tomorrow, what with the anti-corruption crisis of Azam-gate in hand, as well as the latest infamy of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM)’s vindictive action against the national badminton stars Lee Zii Jia and Goh Jn Wei waiting for satisfactory resolution by the Cabinet.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri