TI CPI 2022 is best evidence that after six decades, Malaysia has regressed to become a second-rate mediocre country in danger of being lumped together with other failed states in the world in the next few decades

Transparency International (IT) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2022 is the best evidence that after six decades, Malaysia has regressed to become a second-rate mediocre country in danger of being lumped together with other failed states in the world in the next few decades.

TI Malaysia President Muhammad Mohan said Malaysia is back to square one in the annual TI CPI and that urgent action is needed to improve the nation’s CPI score in the following years.

Muhammad Mohan is wrong. Malaysia is not back to square one but is in an even worse position than at the beginning of the annual TI CPI series in 1995.

The best attempt in the last three decades to check the decline of anti-corruption efforts was in the 22-month Pakatan Harapan government before it was toppled by the Sheraton Move political conspiracy which brought in two unaccountable “backdoor” governments.

Malaysia’s TI CPI 2019 was the best anti-corruption efforts in 25 years since Transparency International started its annual Corruption Perception Index in 1995, for in 2019 Malaysia achieved a score of 53 out of 100 marks with a ranking of 51 out of 180 countries as compared with Malaysia’s TI CPI 2017 when it had a score of 47 out of 100 with a rank of 62 out of 180 countries.

The two “backdoor” governments of Muhyiddin Yassin and Ismail Sabri could not continue with the anti-corruption efforts of the Pakatan Harapan government to achieve better results than the 1995 TI CPI but were responsible for another plunge in TI CPI to the lowest score in a decade and 62nd ranking out of 180 countries.

We have lost out not only to the Top 10 countries led by Denmark and which includes Singapore, we have also lost out to five countries in the first annual TI CPI 1995 list (Taiwan, South Korea, Spain, Italy, and Greece). Furthermore, we have also lost out to countries like Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Croatia, Mauritius, and Vanuatu, and drew with Jordan.

Unless we buck up, we will be overtaken by Armenia, China, Cuba, Bahrain, Jamaica, Oman, Benin, Bulgaria, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Hungary, Kuwait, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, Kosovo, Guyana, India, Maldives, Suriname, and Tunisia by the end of the decade.

Even Indonesia has progressively improved from 1995 to 34 out of 100 marks in 2022, while Malaysia has progressively regressed from 1995 to 47 points out of 100 marks in 2022. Is it a matter of time before Indonesia overtake Malaysia, showing to the world that Indonesia is cleaner and less corrupt than Indonesia?

In the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) countries, we have lost out to United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia and we stand to lose out to more OIC countries if we continue on the trajectory of decline in the TI CPI series.

What should be of great concern to those who want a clean and non-corrupt Malaysia is that we have an Islamic leader who have twisted Islamic teachings against corruption by giving a racist instead of an Islamic interpretation of corruption.

Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Mohamad Kamal Hassan, the third rector of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), in his book “Corruption and Hypocrisy in Malay-Muslim Politics: The Urgency of Moral-Ethical Transformation” confessed that he had been most disillusioned, dismayed, and shamed by two major crisis facing the nation: the deplorable moral decay in the area of politics and governance of the nation, and the widening internal rift within the Malay-Muslim community since the last five years.

We have Perikatan Nasional impatiently waiting at the wings to replace the Anwar unity government, but it has nothing to offer in anti-corruption and moral regeneration except further decline in the TI CPI series to see Malaysia join the last countries in the TI CPI series in the next few decades — countries like the failed states of Yemen, Venezuela, South Sudan, Syria, and Somalia.

The Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, is committed to ensuring that the TI CPI 2023 will make “a big difference”, admitting that corruption “is a big problem in our country from the top to the bottom and we must be firm and not tolerate it” while both Muhyiddin Yassin and Hadi Awang of Perikatan Nasional have no commitment to make Malaysia a clean and non-corrupt country.

This is the important reason why the Anwar unity government deserves the full support of the people, so that Malaysia can be one of the top countries in the world in public integrity and on the anti-corruption front, instead of becoming one of the most divided, failed, and kleptocratic states in the world.

The Anwar unity government is the last chance for Malaysia to reset and return to the original nation-building principles the nation’s founding fathers have entrenched in the Malaysian Constitution and the Rukun Negara and all who love Malaysia must not allow it to fail to make Malaysia a first-rate world-class nation.

This is why I advocate that the forthcoming Parliamentary meeting in a fortnight’s time should take cognisance of the TI CPI 2022 and adopt a charter to make Malaysia one of the top countries in the world on public integrity and on the anti-corruption front.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Veteran