MALAYSIA’S 10th Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim must walk the talk of his anti-corruption commitment and produce results within a year when Transparency International (TI) releases its 2023 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) next January.
It is too late for Anwar to do anything to improve Malaysia’s rank and score in the TI CPI 2022 which will be released later this month – which is likely to be the worst in the history of Malaysia in the 28-year series of TI CPI despite the 2019 TI CPI under the 22-month Pakatan Harapan (PH) government which was the best TI CPI in 25 years.
There will be no excuse for Anwar not to able to improve Malaysia’s rank and score in the 2023 TI CPI in the start of a long march for Malaysia to be among the top 30 countries in the world public integrity – unless Anwar is toppled as the 10th PM before the year is out.
Anwar is the fifth Malaysian PM Joko Widodo a.k.a. Jokowi has met since he became Indonesian president in 2014.
Since 2014, Indonesia has improved its TI CPI’s 107th rank and score of 34 out of 100 marks to 97th and score of 38 marks in 2021, while Malaysia has fallen from 50th rank and score of 52 marks in 2014 to 62nd rank and score of 48 marks in 2021.
From the trajectory of both countries in TI CPI in last seven years, Indonesia will overtake Malaysia by 2030 in the TI CPI series.
This is most humiliating as when the first annual TI CPI was started in 1995 with only 41 countries surveyed, Malaysia was ranked 23rd with a score of 5.28 out of 10 marks, while Indonesia was ranked last at 41st with a score of 1.94 out of 10 marks.
This is one important area where Malaysia has suffered a severe national decline after six decades with the country falling from top half of the globe to a lagging nation in Asia.
Indonesia is not the only country in Asia which Malaysia is losing out. We are also losing to China and India. In 2014, China which was ranked 100th with a score of 36 marks has improved to 66th rank with a score of 45 marks, just three points behind Malaysia.
While India lost its 85th rank in 2014 to 86th rank in 2011, it has improved its score from 38 marks in 2014 to 40 marks in 2021.
In 1995, both India and China were down on the list of TI CPI – India ranked 35th with a score of 2.78 out of 10 marks, while China was ranked second last at 40th with a score of 2.16 out of 10 marks.
Is Malaysia going to lose out to China, Indonesia and India in the TI CPI by 2030?
Malaysia is also in danger of losing out to Vietnam and Cambodia. Vietnam has improved from its 119th rank and score of 31 marks in 2014 to 88th ranking with a score of 39 marks, while Cambodia fell from its 156th rank in 2014 to 158th in 2022 although it improved its score from 21 marks in 2014 to 23 marks in 2021.
We are in the sorry ranks of Sri Lanka and th Philippines, in great contrast to Singapore, the only Asian country in the top ten countries in the TI CPI, improving from seventh rank in 2014 to fourth rank in 2021!
In these circumstances, the assurance by Anwar when he spoke to Malaysians in Jakarta that he would not compromise in the anti-corruption battle even though it might jeopardise his position is most welcome and reassuring.
The ministerial retreat next week and the Parliamentary meeting next month should have more news about how Anwar proposes to end the nation’s decline on the anti-corruption front and place Malaysia as one the 30 top countries in the world in public integrity. – Jan 10, 2023
Retired DAP supremo and former Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang, 82, has a colourful political career spanning 57 years.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.