by : Malaysian Insider
December 03, 2011
DEC 3 — The GTP is Delivering!
In reference to the recent survey release by Transparency International on the Corruption Perception Index and the Corruption Barometer on 1 December and Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s recent statement.
Firstly, let’s put some factual perspective on the surveys, outline the positives and the learning gained from the surveys.
The Government Transformation Programme (GTP)
Here, we would like to perhaps be a little more reflective of the work done thus far instead of taking a myopic view that the success of the programme has derailed. The Corruption NKRA is but one of the 7 NKRAs identified by the Government.
In the course of the last 24 months since the GTP was implemented, Malaysia has recorded outcomes that has impacted the rakyat very positively across the NKRAs of reducing crime, improving urban public transport, rural basic infrastructure, improving student outcomes and rural basic infrastructure. The results of these were evidently published in the Annual Report in March this year. The Annual Report clearly detailed what was achieved, what was not and some of the challenges the Government needed to tackle moving forward.
In July this year, the Government had also announced a new NKRA to manage the cost of living, with cash aid and book vouchers as initial initiatives being made available to families with school going children.
We are under no illusion that the Corruption NKRA is a challenge but it is a challenge we are not backing down from.
We should be mindful that the CPI is only reflective of one area of corruption occurring in Malaysia, in this case Grand Corruption. It is not a measure of the entire Corruption NKRA and definitely not of the GTP on the whole.
Improvement in Corruption Barometer survey
A large focus of the media and of your publication has been on the Corruption Perception Index in which Malaysia’s score suffered a slight dip from 4.4 in 2010 to 4.3 in 2011. However, little has been said about the Corruption Barometer, a public survey that was announced on the same day by Transparency International.
The Corruption Barometer (CB) measures the perception of the public on the Government’s efforts to fight corruption. 49% percent answered that they felt that the Government’s efforts were effective. This clearly shows there has been increase from 48 per cent in the previous year when the Corruption NKRA was introduced. In that sense the momentum was not only maintained but showed that the Corruption NKRA proved effective, as the CB was only rated at 28% in 2009. This also shows that public perception towards petty corruption, efforts and initiatives implemented throughout 2010 and 2011 are being felt and acknowledged by the public.
Some of the deterrent measures such as the Name and Shame Database, the Whistleblower Protection Act and the establishment of compliance units within the 5 key enforcement agencies are building blocks that have contributed to the positive sway. These initiatives have also hit the right chord with foreign embassies expressing their desire to use the name and shame Database as a reference point when processing visa applications, making the burden on corruption offenders even heavier. As with the Whistleblower Protection Act, enforcement agencies have begun to receive reports and compliance units run integrity testing on all their officers to ensure the highest standards of ethics and integrity.
The CPI Score & Ranking
The total score of 4.3 in 2011 is accumulated from 12 surveys, which is 3 more surveys done in comparison to the 9 done in 2010. The 3 are the Political Risk Services Country Guide, the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index and Transparency International’s Bribe Payer Index (BPI).
Benchmarking against the 9 original surveys conducted in 2010, Malaysia has in 2011 increased its scores in 5 of the key surveys. Amongst which, the PERC Asian Intelligence Survey, Malaysia increased from 3.5 in 2010 to 4.5 in 2011. There was also an increase from 4.7 in 2010 to 5.7 in 2011 in the WEF Executive Opinion Survey. The Bertelsmann Transformation Index also saw an increase from 4.5 in 2010 to 4.6 in 2011.
Of the new surveys, the BPI is a survey introduced in 2011 and conducted to measure the propensity of Malaysians to paying bribe to other parties outside of Malaysia. It is also the only one conducted amongst 28 countries instead of all the countries that has been ranked in the CPI. Given that the CPI ranking is made up of an average score across all surveys conducted, the 28 countries in which had the BPI would naturally be impacted either positively or negatively.
The component that was used in the overall CPI was the perception of the businessmen surveyed of corruption in this country. Therefore, we do understand why TI has chosen the BPI and we accept their decision but we also have to examine all the other surveys individually, in order to gauge our progress further in this area.
Throughout 2010 and 2011, we have been able to put in place basic building blocks to effectively address the issue of petty corruption. As evidenced by the Corruption Barometer (CB) released by TI, there has seen a slight increase over last year’s rating.
We realise however a lot more focus is needed on the initiatives to combat grand corruption. If anything, the CPI has clearly shown that we need to address Grand Corruption as it impedes our overall CPI scoring.
This issue requires institutional and structural reforms. The Government recognizes this. In fact the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) is doing just that under Dato’ Sri Abu Kassim, the Chief Commissioner of the MACC. Efforts have already been initiated to combat grand corruption, with the MACC putting in place a transformation programme, which among other things aim to strengthen their forensic investigative capabilities.
We plan to also put more effort on delivering initiatives such as introducing a transparent consultation process for new laws as well as political financing.
We are studying the details of the CPI report and we will continue to work with TI, MACC and all other relevant agencies to drive towards making required improvements.
A point to note is that the TI’s Bribe Payer Index (BPI) is an interesting survey as it focuses on the giver, instead of the receiver. This clearly highlights the fact that we need to have greater focus on integrity and the Corruption NKRA will seek to drive the Corporate Integrity Pledge with greater resolve in 2012.
The scoring of the BPI is a clear indication that only when the giving stops, the taking stops. This is the systemic issue which requires all Malaysians to play a part in addressing.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.