1MDB corruption scandal continues to lend M’sia lower ranking in CPI

Dr Madeline Berma

KUCHING, Jan 28: Sarawak SUHAKAM commissioner Datuk Dr Madeline Berma said one of the factors contributing to Malaysia’s lower ranks in Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in 2021 is the ongoing multi-billion-dollar 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) corruption scandal which has continued to haunt the nation.

Additionally, she said, there are also high-profile corruption cases in the country involving politicians, family and friends, and public officials.

“For example, the ruling and sentence of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in a global financial scandal; the solar project corruption trial; the pursue of the reform agenda without partisan interference have delayed, which include among others the Political Funding Bill, Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill,” Madeline said in a statement issued here today.

She added that reforms which include a two-term limits of the prime minister and chief ministers of states; separating the powers of the Attorney General and ‘Public Prosecutor Discharge Not Amounting to Acquittal’ for some of those charged in high profile cases has given a negative perception on how the legal process was used.

“On top of that, there is also limited access to information on matters of public interest. For example, the compensation for cancelling the High-Speed Rail project and the compensation paid as settlement by Goldman Sachs in the 1 MDB case is not disclosed to the public,” she said, adding that cases of abuse of power and corruption by public official has continued despite crackdowns by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Madeline asserted that the appointment process for key institutions such as the Election Commission, the Judiciary and the Attorney General’s Chambers, were still made based on the discretion of the executive.

“While a Parliamentary Committee has been set up to scrutinize major public appointments, it is still unclear how this committee will function,” she said.

Madeline also highlighted the fact that there is still limited public update on high profile cases such as the Wang Kelian human trafficking case, the Sabah Water Scandal; awarding of contracts to procure equipment for Covid-19 operation; meat cartel scandal involving the smuggling of non-halal raw meat; continued adverse reports on wrong doings and poor governance by government officials in the Auditor General’s report which seems to go unpunished.

Madeline was commenting on the newly released CPI 2021 which revealed that Malaysia ranks 57 out of 180 countries in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2020, dropping from 51 last year.

Malaysia scored 51 out of 100 in the index that measures perception on public sector corruption, compared to its 2019 score of 53.

The CPI ranks 180 countries in the world, by the perceived level of public sector according to experts and business communities. The index is between “0” (highly corrupt) and “100” (clean).

The top 10 countries are New Zealand (88/100), Denmark (88/100), Finland (85/100) Switzerland (85/100), Singapore (85/100) and Sweden (85/100), Norway (84/100), Netherlands (82/100), Luxembourg (80/100) and Germany (80/100). — DayakDaily