Malaysia's Corruption Perception Index rank down seven rungs

KUALA LUMPUR: The recent conviction of a whistleblower and the absence of political financing laws are among the reasons that affected Malaysia's global anti-corruption scores, Transparency InternationaI Malaysia (TI-M) president Datuk Akhbar Satar said when presenting the 2017 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) today.

Malaysia ranked 62 among 180 countries in the CPI last year, dropping from 55th spot in 2016.

The index put Malaysia in the same spot as Cuba, with a score of 47 out of 100.

In 2016, Malaysia ranked 55 with a score of 49.

The CPI is a global aggregate index capturing corruption perception in the public sector worldwide based on expert opinions using a scale of 0-100, with a smaller score denomination denoting a higher level of corruption.

"This is the worst score in the last five years and the lowest ranking since CPI was introduced in 1994."

Akhbar said contributing factors to such poor perception of Malaysia include unresolved cases involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), absence of political financing laws and corporate liability provisions in anti-graft laws.

"The reason is simple ... the 1MDB and SRC International Sdn Bhd issues, Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd scandal and also the conviction of PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli for whistleblowing."

Akhbar stressed that Malaysia has to relook into its whistleblowing laws to ensure there is proper protection for those who expose corrupt activities.

"It is very sad that whistleblowers get arrested and punished here when most other countries have tried to enact whistleblowing laws to protect them.

"Here, we are at the opposites. If you don't comply with the whistleblowing policy and use the media to expose corruption, then you are not protected.

The top five countries in the 2017 index were New Zealand (89) and Denmark (88), followed by Finland, Norway and Switzerland (85).

The index also revealed that more than two-thirds of countries worldwide scored below 50, with an average score of 43.

Countries at the bottom of the index were Yemen, Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan and Somalia.

Meanwhile, MACC honorary commissioner and former TI-M president Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam expressed disappointment on Malaysia's score.

"All the good work done by MACC to robustly fight corruption has been negated by the apparent inability to do more to contain 'grand corruption', which matters in the view of TI," he said.