PUTRAJAYA, Feb 1 — The National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) 2019-2023 needs to be given room to be re-evaluated in order to prioritise high-impact initiatives, says Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Policy, Planning and Research director Datuk Mohd Hafaz Nazar.

He said it could bring significant and rapid changes to the level of governance, transparency, integrity and accountability to effectively support the ongoing fight against corruption and abuse of power.

“Indirectly, this supports the government’s commitment in dealing with the people’s issues, especially efforts to restore, stabilise and empower the national economy,” he said in a statement today, in conjunction with the announcement of the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2022 yesterday, which saw Malaysia ranked 61 out of 180 countries compared to 62 in 2021.

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However, Malaysia’s score in the CPI reduced by one point from 48 in 2021 to 47 in 2022.

He said there were two main factors that contributed to the poor score, namely the lack of political will to fight corruption based on the slow implementation of the NACP and repeated governance failures despite continuous disclosures made by the Auditor-General.

“They include the lack of action against civil servants who abuse their positions, the launch of the Covid-19 stimulus package without going through the debate and scrutiny process in Parliament, the issue of cost overruns in mega-scale procurement, as well as the appointment of less qualified individuals to lead government-linked companies (GLCs) or government-linked investment companies (GLIC),” he said.

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The second factor involves the delay in institutional reforms, in terms of the development of the Political Funding Bill, the Government Procurement Bill, amendments to the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010, the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill and the lack of political will to empower the MACC as an independent and effective anti-corruption institution, he said.

Mohd Hafaz said TI-Malaysia when announcing CPI 2022 also touched on the lack of information transparency in matters of public interest such as the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) project by the Ministry of Defence amounting to RM9 billion, as well as the perception that there was no legal action taken against public servants who abused their power.

“MACC would like to emphasise that throughout 2022, action had been taken in major cases of public interest such as the LCS case. Due to the ongoing investigation involving a foreign country, investigation information cannot be disclosed as it will affect the investigation.

“This lack of transparency of information may create a negative perception of the MACC’s investigation and the government’s commitment as if no action has been taken,” he said.

In addition, he said in the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), the government also accepted the CPI as a basis for measuring the good governance of the country and had set targets for improving Malaysia’s position by 2025.

He said if the target was made into a key performance indicator (KPI) at all levels of ministries, departments and agencies on a ‘shared responsibility’ basis, Malaysia could achieve a much better CPI position.

“For this purpose, the government is also trying to develop a national governance index such as the Malaysian Governance Index (MGI) which is ‘evidence and outcome based’ to measure the country’s governance.

“In addition, the MACC is also working on a comprehensive national anti-corruption study (Malaysian Corruption Survey or MaCoS) based on a study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which emphasizes measuring corruption experience versus perception, by utilising primary data and administrative data,” he added. — Bernama