Discuss corruption issues in Malaysia with a pinch of salt. Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) said this in its interim research report on Anti-Corruption Initiatives in Malaysia which was launched today at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Academy.
Present at the launch was former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The report, titled Combating Corruption: Understanding Anti-Corruption Initiatives in Malaysia, said it was important for the public not to be influenced by perception alone when discussing corruption in Malaysia.
“Although the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) implies that corruption level in the country is bad, our data suggests the situation is not as bleak as the CPI score.
“Therefore, we need to be cautious and not throw blanket accusations denying the many good efforts initiated by the government to combat corruption,” the report said.
However, the report indicated several weaknesses in government’s effort to battle corruption such as lack of a cohesive approach by government agencies, private sector and the civil society to curb graft.
The report added the government had not effectively addressed the root cause of corruption and its agencies suffer from redundancy and lack of focus.
“And that’s why the public does not believe that the government is serious in tackling corruption despite its attempts to do so,” the report said.
Offering solution, the interim report urged the government to set up an inter-agency working committee at the federal level to help agencies to coordinate initiatives and strategies to tackle graft.
“Agencies monitoring the government’s National Key Results Area (NKRA) should improve its coordination capacity, especially when it comes to corruption, and not focus on Government Transformation Programmes (GTP) alone.
The report also said that the government should not ignore anti-corruption framework like the National Integrity Plan as it provides comprehensive long term framework in strengthening integrity and battling corruption.
“We also find that the Nazir Shah Alam report on corruption, done is 1958, is worth revisiting.
“Plus, the MACC should optimise it resources to improve detection and investigation capacity and allow the Integrity Institute of Malaysia (IIM) to focus on public education initiatives,”the report said.
The report is funded by MACC’s NKRA Anti Corruption Unit, plus several local and foreign funders.