Is Malaysian corruption up or down?

Pemandu blames new measurement method for poorer graft score

By Yow Hong Chieh

December 01, 2011

Malaysia’s corruption score would have improved to 4.5 if Transparency International (TI) had not included a new measure which dragged down overall performance, the government’s efficiency unit said today.

“TI’s Bribe Payer Index (BPI) was conducted only in 28 countries. This is the 1st time this has been introduced into the CPI,” the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) said on its @gtp_roadmap Twitter account for its Government Transformation Programme (GTP) section that covers anti-graft programmes.

“BPI is a new survey conducted to measure the propensity of Msians paying bribe to parties outside of Msia. If BPI was not taken into account, Msia’s score would jump to 4.5 and the country ranking would remain at 56.”

Malaysia’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) score has worsened for the third consecutive year to 4.3 from 4.4 in 2010, according to a report released by TI’s Malaysian chapter today.

Malaysia’s country ranking also fell to 60 out of 183 countries — between Saudi Arabia and Cuba — from 56 out of 178 last year.

It remained the third-least corrupt nation in Asean after Singapore (9.2) and Brunei (5.2), with Thailand (3.4) and Indonesia (3.0) following in fourth and fifth places respectively.

Pemandu also said Malaysia had increased scores in key surveys like the PERC Asian Intelligence Survey, WEF Executive Opinion Survey and Bertelsmann Transformation Index, which are aggregated into the CPI score.

It promised Putrajaya would work harder to stamp out large-scale corruption after having achieved “encouraging” results in TI’s Corruption Barometer (CB), which measures public perception of graft.

“On a day to day basis, while people continue to deal w petty corruption, many of these issues are being tackled,” it quoted chief executive Datuk Seri Idris Jala as saying.

“Now, more than ever, the focus has to shift to dealing with grand corruption.”

According to the CB, 49 per cent of Malaysians thought the government’s efforts to fight corruption were effective or very effective, up a touch from 48 per cent last year.

However, the number of respondents who felt Putrajaya’s long-running battle against graft was ineffective or very ineffective rose five points to 25 per cent.

Members of the public saw the police and political parties as the most corrupt institutions, with the police named as the most likely recipient of bribes in the past 12 months.

TI’s CPI is an aggregate measure of the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist in the public sector which draws on 17 surveys and country assessments from 13 different independent institutions.

Two-thirds of the 183 countries surveyed this year achieved a score of less than 5.0.

New Zealand (9.5), Denmark (9.4), Finland (9.4), Sweden (9.3) and Singapore (9.2) were ranked the least corrupt nations in the world, while Somalia (1.0), North Korea (1.0), Myanmar (1.5) and Afghanistan (1.5) were the most corrupt.