INDONESIAN sports minister, Imam Nahrawi, had resigned recently after being investigated for graft. By doing so, he has set a good example to his colleagues and millions of civil servants in his country. Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in Indonesia averaged 26.30 points out of 100 from 1995 until 2018 – a ranking which had put the entire nation in bad light for numerous years.
Indonesia has been encountering high corruption for too long, before it managed to improve its position to 89th out of 180, scoring 38 points on the 2018 CPI. Indonesia ranked fourth among Asean countries in 2018. In first position is Singapore with 82 points, followed by Brunei with 62 points, and Malaysia with 47 points.
Japan scored 73 points on the 2018 CPI and was ranked 18 worldwide. A high ranking Japanese official would have felt too embarrassed to face his nation, let alone holding on to his post, if there is a corruption charge levied against him.
If Malaysians had learnt to emulate the Japanese moral virtues three decades ago, our CPI wouldn’t be languishing below 50 points for so many years, and any high ranking official who has been charged for committing graft wouldn’t be holding on to his post unashamedly.
It is high time that the new administration introduce a new law to suspend a minister or civil servant without pay, once a corruption charge is levied against him. Those who are under investigation but haven’t been charged should be spared from this suspension.
The next important step should be taken without delay is to provide the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission more power to prosecute and run as independently as possible.
If MACC had the power to prosecute without seeking approval from the Attorney General’s office, many high ranking officials would have been hauled up to face their graft charges in courts long ago.
As eradicating corruption has been one of the Pakatan’s commitments as contained in its election manifesto, it has to act fast to improve its CPI ranking. The rakyat expect the new administration to score at least 50 points on the 2019 CPI and improve its ranking gradually to the level achieved by Japan before the next general election in 2023.