Rodziah Ismail Ticker's Blog

Global Corruption Report: Malaysia among corrupt nations where bribes total US$40 billion! (updated)

Posted in Corruption, Malaysian Politics, Politics by rodziahismailticker on September 27, 2009
Honeymah Dylyani

Thursday, 24 September 2009 11:08

KUALA LUMPUR – Corruption remains a top scourge in Malaysia, where nearly half of the corporate respondents in a survey admitting to having paid bribes or knowing someone who had done so.

The South-East Asian nation is not alone in this dilemma, where precious funds are being bled and siphoned away from the system, helping to perpetuate a vicious cycle of poverty where the rich keep getting richer and the poor poorer.

corruption-and-bribes.pngAccording to the Global Corruption Report 2009 published by Transparency International, corruption is most rampant in developing and transition countries.

And companies there have supplied bribes estimated at up to US$40 billion annually to corrupt politicians and government officials.

“The government has recognised the problem and promised to curb corruption, but results have so far not met the expectations,” Paul Low, president of Transparency International Malaysia, told a press conference unveiling GCR.

“Ultimately, it is citizens who has to bear the brunt.  Consumers around the world were overcharged approximately US$300 billion through almost 300 private international cartels discovered from 1990 to 2005,” he said.

Corruption the No 2 obstacle in Malaysia

In Malaysia, business leaders rank corruption as the second most problematic factor for doing business in the country, with 47% of corporate respondents in the Transparency International Malaysia Transparency Perception Survey 2007 admitting to having bribed someone or knowing someone who had done so, mainly to avoid inconvenience.

Revolving doors between public office and the private sector, another practice documented in the report, provide a smooth path to deceitful public procurement deals where non-competitive bidding and opaque processes lead to immense waste and unreliable services or goods, Paul said.

Many of the countries found at the bottom of TI’s yearly Corruption Perceptions Index – which measures perceived levels of public-sector corruption in over 170 countries – are not only victim to unscrupulous governments but to major firms that are more than willing to enter into corrupt deals with these governments.

These intricate webs, involving more than simple bribes, are possible because companies believe that they can get away with such criminal practices.

“Society believes that nothing can be done. There is a sense of hopelessness and the people entrusted with the authority and power to change things are not committed or are unable to do so,” said Paul.

“It also does not help that the anti-graft body have time and again failed to catch the ‘big fish’ who are said to be the real culprits behind graft cases.”  –  Malaysian Mirror

Another opinion:

Friday, September 25, 2009
TI Report: The Right Step Forward for Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng

Global corruption watchdog, Transparency International (TI), has ranked Malaysia as the 47th least corrupt nation in the world and commended the island state of Penang for its anti-corruption efforts. The results is disappointing. The country should strive to be ranked among the top 10 if it wants to attract more investment.

The CPI is part of TI’s Global Corruption Report (GCR) 2009 released yesterday.
In its report on Malaysia, TI highlighted the Malaysian practice of the “revolving door” whereby individuals move from government to business, or business to politics, and back again, and estimated that corruption could cost Malaysia as much as RM10 billion a year.

“Significant government participation in the private sector and considerable business participation in politics means that the movement of gatekeepers to players and players to gatekeepers has a negative influence on the concept of checks and balances,” said TI.

“The complexity of the relationships between politics and the public and private sectors means that corruption may take place with impunity. Until drastic action is taken to separate the cosy relationship between government, business and politics, the anti-corruption effort will remain no more than a token gesture,” said TI.

It also recognised the state government’s directive barring administrators and state executive councillors from making any new land applications and efforts to attract professionals to serve on various boards, such as the Penang State Appeals Board.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng says he is “humbled” by the recognition by TI and added that he was concerned over the fact that that corruption could cost Malaysia as much as RM10 billion a year – an amount equivalent to 1 or 2 per cent of GDP as pointed out by the GCR when it cited the findings of the special government business facilitation task force Pemudah and the World Bank.

He added that the two local authorities in Penang are expected to save another RM34 million over three years from a “transparent” negotiation over the price of solid waste disposal that reduced the rates agreed to by the previous Barisan Nasional administration by a further 42.4 per cent.

Corruption is the mother of all ills in this country. I would like to commend CM Lim for a job well done. His administration has taken the right step forward to ensure a better accountability of public funds.

In contrast, PAS Selangor State Exco Dr Hasan Ali has taken the exact opposite action in trying to undermine the effort of Selcat to investigate abuse of public funds. Agencies, departments and ministries which tasked with the responsibility of managing the taxpayers’ money must be subjected to a strict due diligence.

The PKFZ fiasco is a prime example of a lack of such mechanism and financial discipline.

Lim also today announced that the state has managed to cut about RM36 million or 12 per cent of in operating expenditure this year due to its efforts to curb corruption.
Kudos to CM Lim and rotten eggs for Hasan.

– Khoo Kay Peng’s Straight Talk


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