PUTRAJAYA, July 21 — The findings of the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) on Malaysia did not represent the true level of graft in the country and only measured the prevalence of such views, Tan Sri Azam Baki said today.
Speaking to reporters in a special meeting with select media agencies, the head of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said that Transparency International (TI) that was behind the annual CPI also noted the same.
TI issues the annual CPI that ranked countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption
“If I were to go into the details too, the survey from the nine sectors which they (TI) did, not all is linked to corruption. Only one. That involving medium index, involving human rights issues, involving business ethics and others. What has that got to do with CPI?
“So, if it is based on facts, and that is what we hope, if the survey that was done specifically involves corruption, we can then accept it. But as for now, they (TI) too named it as Corruption Perception Index. Which means they perceive a nation, including Malaysia, as to what level the corruption index is at,” he added.
Azam added that there were also unreported surveys done on Malaysia’s civil service and that it was ranked among the best in the world.
“That was not based on perception but based on facts,” he added.
During the question and answer session with the media, Azam was also asked about his views on the importance of perception for investors who are looking to invest in Malaysia.
“What if the perception is written just to say it is very negative? That is the problem. I don’t know, I don’t have the data, but based on reports from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), there seems to not be reasons that foreign investors have taken off based on perception. I have not heard of this yet,” he said, adding that investors are still entering nations which have worse CPI than Malaysia.
“Is it because of perception that the investors will stay away? The investors will stay away from the country? You better check. If you say that Vietnam, Thailand, are better than us, but the CPI in those countries is worse than us. We are the second best behind Singapore, for example,” he added.
In January this year, the MACC said that it is taking serious note of Malaysia’s score and position in the CPI issued by Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M).
Malaysia dropped to 62nd spot out of the 180 countries in the CPI 2021 compared to its 57th position in 2020, with the country’s score also dropping to 48 compared to 51 in 2020.
Bernama also reported that TI-M president Dr Muhammad Mohan, when presenting the CPI 2021, said although there was a dip in its score, Malaysia has shown positive developments throughout last year after the government took a bi-partisan approach via the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Political Stability and Transformation in September.
In his speech before the question-and-answer session, Azam also stressed on the need to shift from a perception-based survey to evidence-based ones.
“This has already been acknowledged by the United Nation on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which has its own survey. The corruption/integrity surveys done by the UNODC, aims to assess the perception and attitude of civil servants, towards their work environment as well as experiences and their involvement in crimes and corruption,” he said.
Azam also expressed hope to be able to collaborate with the UNODC on the said initiative, and to be able to cover the private sector as well as the public at large.
He said that a holistic and comprehensive survey can aid in developing accurate measures to combat corruption.