KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) needs to focus more on preventing corruption in tandem with enforcement of the law in combating the scourge of corruption towards improving the country’s image through the Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

Its Corruption Prevention Advisory Board member, Datuk Seri Azman Ujang said he viewed corruption as a plague that must be prevented and not treated as the prevention efforts were still lacking.

“The element of prevention is there in institutions such as the MACC but the efforts are still far from being effective and hence, needed to be boosted as preventing this scourge is better than treating it.”

He said this to Bernama when contacted to comment on Malaysia’s latest world ranking on the CPI which is at 62 compared to 57 in 2020.

Sharing the sentiments, senior lecturer at Universiti Malaya’s Faculty of Economics and Administration, Dr Mohammad Tawfik Yaakub said the “fangs” of the integrity institutions in this country needed to be sharpened in solving the problem of corruption, especially the cases involving political leaders.

“This is important towards improving Malaysia’s position on the CPI as it involves the country’s image while the actions taken such as the Corruption-Free Pledge (IBR) could be seen as merely cosmetic or rhetoric and no longer relevant in tackling the issue of lack of integrity.

“We need to act fast and we can no longer just be sitting at meetings and waiting for the reports at the lower level while the perception and responses could eventually delay the process of combating corruption.

“We should also be giving a space as wide as possible to the integrity institutions for prosecution and law enforcement to enable them to carry out their job with full dedication for the sake of the nation,” he said.

Malaysian Institute of Integrity member Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said he viewed the issue of corruption as having no end although a lot of cases had been exposed as corruption seemed to be accepted as a culture in Malaysian society.

He said the public should be concerned because if corruption was allowed to go on unabated, it could have a negative impact domestically and internationally for the country.

“This is because other countries will perceive Malaysia very negatively. If they are to invest in Malaysia, they will be very concerned looking at the state of this nation if its full of corruption as it is a disincentive for foreign investment,

“Domestically, it will be an issue too when we’ve lost our competitive spirit in business,” Lee added.

Yesterday, Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali reportedly said that the country’s public service and private sectors should be determined in fighting corruption following Malaysia’s unsatisfactory position on the CPI 2021.

“Although it could be just be a perception, the reality is that it is an important signal for all of us to continue our fight against corruption by having a high level of integrity as a culture among the agencies and individuals in the public service and private sectors,” he added. - Bernama