Malaysia Advances To 57th Place In Global Corruption Perception Index

With a score of 50 out of 100, Malaysia has reversed its three-year decline in this year's CPI.

Cover image via Pixabay & United Nations Development Programme

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Malaysia has climbed to the 57th spot in 2023's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), showing improvement from its 61st position in 2022

The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories worldwide based on the level of corruption within their public sectors.

Each country's score is determined by combining information from 13 different corruption surveys and assessments, including those conducted by the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.

The CPI employs a scale ranging from zero to 100, where zero is perceived to be highly corrupted and 100 is perceived to be very clean.

With a score of 50 out of 100, Malaysia has reversed its three-year decline by securing the 57th position out of 108 nations in this year's CPI.

Based on the website's chart, Malaysia reached its peak with 53 points in 2019. However, it experienced a decline to 50 points in 2020, further dropping to 48 points in 2021 and 47 points in 2022.

Nevertheless, Malaysia managed to improve its standing by climbing four positions compared to the previous year. Among the ASEAN countries assessed, Malaysia ranked second, with Singapore leading as the fifth least corrupted country in the world, attaining a score of 83 points.

Transparency International Malaysia's chairman, Dr Muhammad Mohan, credits Malaysia's improved CPI score to the federal government's readiness to take legal action against high-profile individuals

He said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Attorney-General Chambers' approach in charging two former prime ministers, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, is one of the major factors contributing to the country's improved score, reported Malaysiakini.

Muhammad also said a smooth transition of power after the 14th and 15th general elections could also be a factor in Malaysia's improved score.

"Among the positive developments which happened after the coalition government came to power also include Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's directive for enhancing the code of national governance, current investigations on the undisclosed wealth of politicians, and former politicians as well as setting a national CPI target — to achieve top 25 in [the] global ranking," he added.

However, Muhammad Mohan cautioned against the premature celebration of Malaysia's CPI ranking saying the survey did not account for the discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) granted to Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamid, where 47 corruption charges related to Yayasan Akalbudi were withdrawn.

"The DNAA was granted on 4 September last year. Most probably, such a development was not captured in the survey for the CPI 2023 since it only reflected [perception on corruption] incidents until August last year," he said.

Transparency International Malaysia chairman Muhammad Mohan.

Image via FMT

Muhammad Mohan also highlighted several concerning trends that could potentially impact Malaysia's future CPI scores

He said there should be a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to investigating potential corruption so that it covers a broader spectrum of individuals in both past and present political spheres.

"Any such persons found to have unexplained or potentially illegally acquired wealth during the process of an MACC investigation should arouse suspicion and be asked to declare assets to facilitate such investigations," he said.

He also expressed concerns about the ambiguous relationship between politics, business, and patronage, describing it as a murky area that adversely affects the nation, particularly in terms of transparency and integrity.

"This is sometimes perceived to be the reason why the political financing bill has not seen the light of the day," he said.

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