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by Lim Guan Eng
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday
): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi can not blame his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the drop in Malaysia’s rankings by 5 places from 39th in the 2005 Transparency International's 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) to 44th in the 2006 CPI. The drop in CPI rankings shows that Abdullah must urgently review the cause of such failure and the remedial steps taken to address and take corrective measures.
When Abdullah took over as Prime Minister in 2003, Malaysia was ranked No. 37 with a score of 5.2 points. Abdullah immediately declared war on corruption by launching the National Integrity Plan(PIN) to enhance integrity and ethics. Abullah even set out a target with the noble 5-year objective from 2004-2008 to improve Malaysia CPI rankings to No. 30 with a score of 6.5 by 2006.
Many Malaysians wanted a fresh start after the financial excesses and abuse of power of the Mahathir regime and were tired of the widespread corruption that caused Malaysia to drop from No. 23 when the rankings were first published in 1995 to No. 37 when he left office. For that reason Malaysians responded strongly to Abdullah by giving BN the largest mandate in electoral history with 91% of the Parliamentary seats.
DAP even supported Abdullah anti-corruption campaign by giving Abdullah two years to make good his promises to curb corruption and financial excesses. Whilst DAP did not expect to see Malaysia being completely campaign, DAP did not expect to see the anti-corruption campaign stalled and become worse. The drop in rankings by 5 places to 44th and score of only 5 in Malaysia’s CPI is a failure of Abullah’s PIN to improve the CPI rankings to 30th and the score to 6.5 by 2008.
ast year Malaysia scored higher with 5.1 points out of 10. This year Malaysia performed worse all round with a score of 5 points and a ranking of 44 losing out to poorer developing countries such as Chile(20), Barbados(24), Uruguay(28) and even Bhutan(32); African countries such as Malta(28) and Botswana(37); and Middle-East countries in UAE(31), Qatar(32), Israel(34), Bahrain(36), Oman(39) and Jordan(40). Abdullah must analyse why he is performing worse than Mahathir was in power when his image as a clean person and anti-corruptL ion fighter is better than Mahathir. Where has he gone wrong with the 5 commitments of PIN such as:-
1. reduce corruption, malpractices and abuse of power effectively;
2. enhance efficiency in the delivery system of the civil service and cut red tape;
3. upgrade the good corporate governance and ethical business practices;
4. strengthen the family institution; and
5. enhance the quality of live and society’s welfare.
DAP regrets the claim by Anti-Corruption Agency deputy director-general Datuk Zakaria Jaffar said the agency was independent and could investigate politicians, but people were not willing to come forward with information as not only “self-deception and mass deception” of the people. I myself have made direct reports of corruption against BN leaders, most notably Melaka Chief Minister and UMNO Vice-President Datuk Mohd Ali Rustam but to no avail. How can ACA expect people to have confidence to come forward and provide information if ACA fails to act when information is given.
DAP suggests that Abdullah replace the 5 commitments with a 8-path Action Plan to save and rejuvenate his anti-corruption campaign based on enforcement, prevention and education centred on the the values on leadership by example, political will and morality.
1. Show Leadership by example by members of the administration to avoid misusing government machinery and public funds for their private interests and political benefits especially publicly declaration of assets, end political discrimination in depriving development funds and allowances to opposition wakil rakyats;
2. Anti-Corruption Agency(ACA) must be independent, have prosecution powers and accountable onlyto Parliament to avoid unhealthy perceptions of political interference when it is placed under the Prime Minister’s Department;
3. Establish a Corruption Tribunal to deal with public complaints of corruption that the ACA refuses to act or respond to reports made.
4. Formulate a Whistle-blower Act to protect the safety of information providers and give adequate rewards where necessary.;
5. Criticism and exposes of abuse of power and malpractices in the annual Auditor-General Report must be followed up with action with powers given to the Auditor-General to punish offenders;
6. Establish an Ombudsman as an oversight body to deal with unhealthy practices not caught under the definition of corruption and to enhance good governance in both the civil service and private sector to ensure corporate social responsibility;
7. Set up an internal control system as a preventive mechanism with an Integrity Committee in all government departments to ensure that all abuses of power, malpractices and unhealthy practices can be detected early and immediate action taken; and
8. Introduce Corruption as a compulsory subject in our schooling system as an educational tool for our younger generation.
Abdullah must have new thinking by instituting new anti-corruption measures that can not only punish and enforce, but also serve as a preventive mechanism as well as an educational tool for all Malaysians must be implemented if Malaysia is not to continue to regress in fighting corruption or stop Malaysia from becoming a heaven for wrongdoers and offenders.
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP