PETALING JAYA (Dec 9, 2008): by Maria J.Dass
Malaysian business people are highly critical of the government's efforts to fight corruption compared with those in other Asia Pacific countries.
They also rated the police force as the most corrupt institution in the country with a Bribe Payers Index (BPI) of 4 (1:not all corrupt, 5: extremely corrupt), according to Transparency International's (TI) 2008 Bribe Payers Index (BPI) findings released today.
The business community also believes that their own companies are highly involved in corrupt practices in Malaysia and the region, while political parties were singled out as the most corrupt institutions in the Asia Pacific region with a BPI of 3.6.
The outcome of the survey is similar to the results in the Global Corruption Barometer 2007, said Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) president Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam.
"TI believes that while most of the world's wealthiest countries already subscribe to a ban on foreign bribery, under the Organisation for Economic Corporations and Development Anti-bribery Convention, there is little awareness of the convention among the senior business executives interviewed in the BPI."
"Therefore it is crucial that governments go beyond speeches and proclamations, and show greater dedication to combat bribery and corruption in spite of great resistance by self-serving pressure groups whose main interest is to benefit themselves even at the expense of civil society."
"Governments have to ensure that foreign bribery should be stopped at source and make good on commitments to prevent and prosecute such practices."
Ramon said TI-M believes that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Bill and two other bills to be tabled by the government in this parliamentary session will help improve poor public perception at home and abroad - that Malaysia has a mediocre score and success in fighting corruption.
"It is important that all MPs support the bills and improve them during the second reading and pass them with maximum parliamentary and public support,," he said.
The survey was conducted among senior business executives from companies in 26 developed and developing countries, including Malaysia. A minimum 100 executives were interviewed in each country and the enterprises they represent were selected through a stratification process that took into consideration the size of firms, their sector and location.
Belgium and Canada showed good results by sharing the first place with a score of 8.8 out of 10.
AT A GLANCE
Practices prevalent among companies from their own countries, when operating in their own continent or region
Bribery to high ranking officials to or political parties
Malaysia: 42% of 92 respondents
Asia Pacific: 47% of 763 respondents
Average (26 countries): 41% of 2,292 respondents
Bribery to low level public officials to speed things up
Malaysia: 38% of 94 respondents
Asia Pacific: 45% of 769 respondents
Average: 43% of 2,430 respondents
Use of personal and familiar relationships on public contracting
Malaysia: 44% of 93 respondents
Asia Pacific: 44% of 762 respondents
Average: 42% of 2,401 respondents
Assessment of government action in the fight against corruption in Malaysia (100 respondents)
Very Ineffective – 27%
Ineffective – 46%
Neither – 9%
Effective – 12%
Very Effective – 6%
Sectors in Malaysia perceived to be affected by corruption (1:not all corrupt, 5: extremely corrupt)
Police – 4
Political Parties – 3.8
Registry and Permit Services – 3.6
Parliament/Legislature – 3.3
Customs – 3.3