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Pendapat / Opinion

Corruption In Malaysia Cannot Be Measured By Public Perception Alone, And The Public Should Not Deny The Government’s – Ideas

The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) today
released an interim research report on anti-corruption initiatives in
Malaysia.  This interim report is an attempt to compile the first
“history” of the fight against corruption in Malaysia by providing an
overview of initiatives taken by various agencies, groups and
organisations over the last few decades.

Tun Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi, former Prime Minister of Malaysia,
delivered the keynote address at the launch event this morning, which
was held at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Academy (MACA).

Tun Abdullah said: “I congratulate IDEAS for the study they conducted.
This is an important work that enables us to have a good map that
documents past efforts and from it we can get inspirations and
experiences to move forward.  I understand that after the interim
report that is released today, the final version of this study will be
published soon.  I am sure it will provide us with a very
comprehensive foundation on which we can build a culture of integrity.
Hopefully it can lead to surge of real actions that will make real
and fundamental change.”

IDEAS started the research in March 2012, led by Mr Anis Yusal Yusoff,
IDEAS Senior Fellow, and member for the MACC’s Consultation and
Corruption Prevention Panel.

The research was funded by MACC’s NKRA (Anti-Corruption) Division, and
other local and foreign funders.

IDEAS is now inviting feedback and suggestions before 31 December
2012.  The report will be finalised for publication in early 2013.

In the final chapter, the interim report states:

•       When it comes to the level of corruption in Malaysia, we found that
there is a disconnect between public perception and what the data
says. Public perception as measured by the CPI implies that corruption
is rampant and the situation is very bad. But data suggests that the
problem of corruption in Malaysia is not as bleak as the CPI score has
painted. Thus when discussing corruption in Malaysia, it is necessary
to do so with a pinch of salt and not be completely influenced by
perception alone. Nevertheless, we are not arguing that there is no
corruption in Malaysia. Perception does not arise out of thin air. All
that we are saying is that there is a need to be cautious and not
throw blanket accusations denying the many good efforts initiated by
the government.

•       We have seen many initiatives taken by the government, and many more
recommendations on how to tackle corruption in Malaysia. In fact, even
in 1958 Shah Nazir Alam has proposed some very interesting yet simple
initiatives. But despite these numerous proposals and initiatives, we
are still faced with the same problems. This certainly calls for a
pause to take stock of all the initiatives, and conduct a
comprehensive evaluation before moving ahead.

•       At the present moment we do not see a cohesive approach where all
actors from the public sector, private sector and civil society, sit
around one table, with one clear objective of eradicating corruption,
to strategise initiatives that will not just maximise resources but
also magnify the impact.

•       The biggest challenge that the Malaysian government faces, in
addition to reducing incidences of corruption, is convincing
businesses and the Malaysian public in general that corruption is
being addressed in a serious manner. As we elaborated in Chapter 4,
current initiatives are not adequate for addressing these challenges
for these following reasons:
– They have not effectively addressed the root causes of
corruption in Malaysia.
– They suffer from redundancies and duplications as well as from
a lack of depth and focus.
– The public does not believe that the government is serious in
tackling corruption, despite the many and varied attempts to do so.

•       This source book was designed to bring us back to basic. We started
by explaining the cost of corruption, we explained the history of
fighting corruption and promoting integrity in this country and then
we mapped out the main initiatives and we provided some gap analysis.
Perhaps the country has been so engrossed with the problems at hand to
the extent that we forgot to look at simple solutions. We are always
in a hurry to start new initiatives when the ones we have crafted
earlier had not yet been executed to satisfaction, and some earlier
recommendations have not even been given due considerations.

The report also makes the following interim recommendations:

•       What is still missing is an inter-agency working committee at the
Federal level where all agencies responsible to fight corruption and
promote integrity are coordinated in terms of their strategies and
initiatives. This will avoid duplication and wasting of resources and
can ensure impact and clear outcomes. Any agency in charge of
monitoring and coordination, like the NKRA, should improve its
coordination capacity. The NKRA should not confine itself to
coordinating programmes under the GTP programme, but it should also
monitor and coordinate programme for other agencies.

•       The MACC should optimise the use of its resources to improve its
detection, inspection and investigation capacity and performance and
allow the IIM to focus on public education initiatives.

•       Previous administration’s anti-corruption framework like the
National Integrity Plan must not be ignored. The National Integrity
Plan should be re-examined and strengthened as it provides a
comprehensive long term framework for fighting corruption and building

•       Similarly, we should go back to our own history to dig out the many
recommendations that have been made over the years, and explore which
ones may be relevant for today. We found that the report by Shah Nazir
Alam in 1958 to be one of the reports that is worth revisiting.

The full interim report can be downloaded free by clicking here


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