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Abdullah doing his record and  campaign against corruption a grave disservice  by casting doubt on TI CPI 2006 because of its five-ranking plunge for Malaysia from 39th to 44th place


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  


(Parliament, Friday) :  The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has done his record and campaign against corruption a grave disservice in casting doubt on Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2006 because of its five-ranking plunge for Malaysia from 39th to 44th place.


In his keynote address at the National Integrity Day 2006 forum yesterday, Abdullah made the cynical remark that “since the index is based on perception, it therefore differs from the reality”.


He has also succumbed to  the latest variation of the denial syndrome when he said that “it was possible that others perceived corruption had not decreased due to the greater openness in the media which has been actively reporting corruption cases”.


This is perverse illogic, which was typical of the era of the former Mahathir administration.  I feel  sad and sick that such a disease seems to have now afflicted the present Abdullah premiership.


Going by this perverse illogic, utterly corrupt countries where there is total media censorship where there could be no reports about corruption – like Myanmar. Zimbabwe,  Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan – should rank very high among the  “least corrupt” nations in the TI CPI, when in fact these countries are ranked as among the world’s most corrupt countries in the index.


How can Abdullah now cast doubt on the TI CPI just because of its adverse indices in the three years of his premiership, falling from 37th position when Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad retired in 2003 to the present 44th ranking, when in April 2004, he had launched the National Integrity Plan (PIN) with a five-year objective  from 2004-2008 to achieve the target of improving Malaysia’s 37th placing in the TI CPI 2003 to 30th place and a CPI score of 6.5  in 2008 as compared to 5.2 in 2003.


Is Abdullah going to scrap the National Integrity Plan and  abandon its most important target of being ranked at least 30TH place in the TI CPI 2008 as a result of the present 44th placing in the TI CPI 2006?


I can still remember seven years ago,  the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) taking public pride in the 1998 TI CPI when Malaysia made a three-ranking improvement from No. 32 in the 1997 CPI to  No. 29.


Since then, however, there had been nothing for Malaysians to look forward to, as it had been a sad history of unmitigated plunge, as illustrated by the following box:


Corruption Perception Index of Malaysia, 1995-2006


Rank CPI Score Participated Countries in the survey
1995 23 5.28 41
1996 26 5.32 54
1997 32 5.01 52
1998 29 5.3 85
1999 32 5.1 99
2000 36 4.8 90
2001 36 5.0 91
2002 33 4.9 102
2003 37 5.2 133
2004 39 5.0 146
2005 39 5.1 159
2006 44 5.0 163


Abdullah must face up to the fact that his three-year premiership is facing a crisis of confidence over the whole spectrum of his reform pledge and agenda – in particular his promise to lead a clean and incorruptible government with an all-out war against corruption.


He must provide leadership and set a personal example of being “clean and seen to be clean”  if his reform pledge to fight corruption is not to fizzle out completely and become totally discredited.  


His call yesterday to the courts to quickly hear and hand down judgments for corruption cases is appropriate, but completely inadequate and unequal  to the task of addressing  the crisis of confidence arising from his failure in the past three years  to make any mark in the war against corruption, which has now been given international confirmation in  the adverse TI CPI 2006.


Abdullah must be capable of  stronger, more effective and purposeful responses to the TI CPI 2006, including:


  • Convening  special Cabinet meeting and holding a special  Parliamentary debate on the scourge of corruption and TI CPI 2006;

  • Setting a leadership example of being “clean and seen to be clean” by giving satisfactory responses to integrity allegations whether involving himself on the Iraq Food For Oil scam involving billions of ringgit, his son, Kamaluddin over Scomi government contracts or his son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin over ECM Libra share acquisitions by setting up an   independent public inquiry to deliver independent verdicts;

  • Remove  ACA from under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister’s Department and elevate it into an independent agency answerable only to Parliament.



*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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