The annual index, which is drawn from 13 global surveys involving 180 countries in the world, puts Malaysia at its highest score in over 20 years since 1998.
Malaysia scored 53 points in the 2019 index — an increase of six points from the previous year — ranking it third-best among the Asean states after Singapore, which scored a high of 85 points, and Brunei which attained 60 points.
Placed at the top of the index are Denmark and New Zealand with 87 points each, while Syria, Sudan and Somalia are at the bottom of the index with 13, 12 and nine points respectively.
Among the Muslim states, Malaysia is fifth behind the United Arab Emirates with 71 points, Qatar (62 points), Brunei (60 points) and Saudi Arabia (53 points).
TI Malaysia president Dr Muhammad Mohan (picture) described the 10-spot improvement as encouraging and urged both the government and public to continue to push the index further upwards. Malaysia was once ranked in the top 30s in the 1990s, Muhammad said.
“The curve has gone up and we hope it will continue to improve,” he said at the release of the report in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Other contributors to the higher score was the arrest of several political figures including former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak and his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who were charged by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for corruption and money laundering.
TI also cited greater media freedom, declaration of assets by MPs of the ruling party, the expected enforcement of the Corporate Liability Provision (Section 17A) in June 2020 and the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s commitment to a five-year National Anti-Corruption Plan.
“Moving forward, to further improve Malaysia’s standing in the index, the PH government should accelerate institutional reforms such as making the MACC more independent, pushing for the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission bill, enactment of the political financing law to stop money politics and regularly engage with the public,” Muhammad said.
“Only with such momentum and progress can we expect to see further improvement in the index next year,” he added.
On the regional front, the Asia-Pacific region — which includes top performers New Zealand, Singapore and Australia — scored an average 45 points, coming in second behind Western Europe and the European Union which averaged 66 points. The lowest performing region was Sub-Saharan Africa with an average score of 32 points.
“Despite the presence of high performers like New Zealand and Japan, the Asia-Pacific region has not witnessed substantial progress in anti-corruption efforts or results. In addition, low performers like Afghanistan, North Korea and Cambodia continue to highlight serious challenges in the region.
“While often seen as an engine of the global economy, in terms of political integrity and governance, the region performs only marginally better than the global average,” Muhammad said.
Source: The Malaysian Reserve