Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan - Minister in Prime Minister Department responsible for promoting Governance and Integrity

Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan – Minister in Prime Minister Department responsible for promoting Governance and Integrity

KUALA LUMPUR — The integrated approach involving various quarters and agencies, the enforcement of laws and the initiatives taken by the government have managed to put Malaysia on the right track in its bid to fight corruption, misappropriation and power abuse in a comprehensive and effective manner.

According to the Integrity Commitment Report 2009-2013, strategic cooperation would ensure the approach, understanding and awareness through the message of integrity would change public perception on the crime.

“Although the scenario of corruption, misappropriation and power abuse in the country has not shown any drastic changes, surveys revealed that the scenario is changing towards the positive at a slow rate,” the report said.

Between 2009 and 2013, there were several initiatives taken to combat the crime, including the rebranding of the Anti-corruption Agency (ACA) as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which had indeed given a big impact to the initiatives to combat corruption in the country.

In the economic sector, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM), Security Commission (SC) and Bursa Malaysia had played their roles in inculcating and promoting integrity, while non-governmental organisations, such as Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M), had been active in giving their opinions and cooperation concerning the initiatives to combat corruption, misappropriation and power abuse in all sectors.

The integrated approach had inadvertently improved the corruption perceptions index under the National Integrity Perception Index (IPIN) which showed an improvement of the score from 6.5 in 2009 to 6.8 in 2013.

The Corruption Perception Index Survey 2008-2013, on the other hand, showed that the level of public confidence on MACC’s efforts to combat corruption had increased to 64 per cent in 2012 from only 42.5 per cent in 2011.

Those initiatives had also increased Malaysia’s score in the Corruption Perception Index with 4.3 (2011) to 50/100 in 2013, besides improving the position in Doing Business Report 2009-2014, in which Malaysia is currently in 6th place compared to 21st place in 2009.

Malaysia had also improved its position in the Bribe Payers Index (BPI) from being ranked 15th from the 19 participating countries in 2009, to being ranked 15th from 28 participating countries in 2011.

“Based on the scores from the various national and international indices, it is clear that Malaysia is in a good position with encouraging potential to further improve its position in the future,” the report said.

However, the report said the preparedness of the economic sector in fighting corruption, misappropriation and power abuse was still at the worrying level.

Corruption had been deemed ‘necessary’ in business transactions in Malaysia, whether among private companies or between private and public sector, and it was prominently visible in the Institute of Integrity Malaysia (IIM) survey on bribery, which revealed that 60.3 per cent of the respondents disagreed with the idea that corruption rate was lower in the private sector.

The finding was in line with the survey conducted by KPMG Malaysia, which revealed that 71 per cent of the respondents opined that bribery was one of the inevitable costs of doing business, while 64 per cent of the respondents believed that business could not be done in Malaysia without giving bribes.

The report also touched on the poor commitment of political leaders in the efforts to inculcate integrity among the people, which is the biggest issue and challenge in the fight against the crime.

Issues of corruption, misappropriation, power abuse and transparency among Customs, police, immigration, Road Transport Department and even MACC personnel, had also affected public confidence and faith in those agencies.

“The arrest of enforcement officers involved in bribery and corruption had become a stigma in the society to the extent of believing that it is a culture among enforcement officers,” the report said.

Based on MACC’s report among the offences involving corruption, misappropriation and power abuse in Malaysia were giving and accepting bribes, making false claims, money laundering and abuse of position. — BERNAMA