Better Cpi Rank But Patronage And Cronyism Persist Groups Say


 



Despite Malaysia’s improved global corruption perception rank in 2023, anti-graft watchdogs caution about lingering setbacks that must be addressed for the country to strengthen its commitment to good governance and transparency.
The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center) said that Malaysia’s 57th spot out of 180 countries, scoring 50 out of 100 in Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2023 denoted a positive change for how corruption is perceived in the nation.
However, it said these signs of progress towards better governance and transparency do not diminish the numerous issues the country is experiencing in terms of combatting corruption.
“While the scores are promising, it is worth noting that 2023 was not a smooth year for the unity government.
“In particular, it was heavily criticised for favouritism in the manner in which it attempted to resolve controversies involving high-profile politicians,” said C4 Center in a statement today.
It emphasised that patronage and cronyism - as enablers of corruption - persist and remain unaddressed, with political appointments in government-linked companies (GLC) still being maintained.
As such, it said the government must implement substantive anti-corruption reforms given Anwar himself highlighted his commitment to elevate Malaysia to the top 25 in the CPI within the next 10 years.
C4 Center’s recommendations include the separation of powers between the attorney-general and the public prosecutor's offices to ensure prosecutorial independence, reforming the MACC by making it the sole anti-corruption body, and formulating a ministerial code of conduct and ethics to regulate enablers of corruption.
Vet GLC appointments
Meanwhile, the institutional reform coalition CSO Platform for Reform proposed that initiating good governance should involve empowering existing institutions to enhance transparency.
It said this includes a transparent appointment mechanism to vet appointments for GLCs and statutory bodies, along with establishing the proposed office of the ombudsman.
“With investigative powers to recommend disciplinary action against public servants, the respective heads, or departments, the ombudsman will provide checks and balances between the government and the people,” it said.
The coalition also called for the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act to improve national governance in terms of transparency and accountability.
“Although it is still in the engagement stage as an initiative by the Legal Affairs Division, it shows the government’s openness to strengthen the existing act for the welfare of the people,” it said.
CSO Platform for Reform added that ministers should also have to declare their assets through an independent property declaration unit, independent of the Prime Minister’s Department, MACC, and the Royal Malaysia Police.
- Bernama


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