Kuala Lumpur, 29 January 2021 – The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) is concerned by the fall in Malaysia’s rank and score in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2020. 2020 was a difficult year, with ⅔ of countries scoring lower than 50/100. Regardless of this, Malaysia’s disappointing performance is a signal for the country to refocus and prioritise institutional reforms as well as the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP).
“Transparency-International Malaysia (TI-M) clearly highlighted the stall in institutional reforms as a possible influencing factor of the fall in both rank and score. Despite the Prime Minister ensuring full commitment to fulfill the NACP, we have not seen any significant steps towards its implementation. We call on the government to provide us with a concrete implementation plan for the NACP moving forward.
“Furthermore, progress on the Political Funding and Government Procurement Acts has halted, and the IPCMC’s watering down was also criticised by civil society groups. The government needs to place the utmost priority on these reforms or our CPI will continue to suffer. This erodes public trust in our institutions, which in turn affects business sentiment and investor confidence,” comments Tricia Yeoh, CEO of IDEAS.
COVID-19’s impact worldwide has further underscored the need for transparency and good governance practices. “The CPI 2020 shows that persistent corruption undermines healthcare systems and contributes to democratic backsliding around the world. In Malaysia, not only has power struggles contributed to a surge in Covid-19 infections, as was seen after the Sabah state elections, frustration has also been brewing due to the unequal application of punishments for breaching SOPs. What is more worrying, Parliament has also been suspended because of the Emergency Declaration. I am very concerned that COVID-19 has been continually used as a reason to undermine the rule of law and weaken checks and balances in Malaysia’s democracy,” adds Tricia.
IDEAS urges the government to pay close attention to the CPI results and to take concrete action in implementing the recommendations made by TI-M. Fighting corruption should always be the priority of any country, and it is especially imperative now when good governance standards correlate directly with the public health and building back the economy.
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