Malaysia govern­ment chief secretary says TI president is wrong

PETALING JAYA - Malaysia's recent ranking by the Transparency Inter­national (TI) is an acknowledgement of the many reforms undertaken by the country to tackle corruption and enhance further governance and integrity, said Chief Secretary to the Govern­ment Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa.

The civil service, he said, viewed seriously and with concern the statement by TI president Jose Ugaz which, among others, claimed that Malay­sia was facing a corruption crisis.

Contrary to Ugaz's claim, said Dr Ali, the Corruption Perception Index 2014 had ranked Malaysia 50th among 175 countries, second within ASEAN behind Singapore, and ninth in Asia Pacific after New Zealand, Japan and South Korea among others.

"This ranking by TI is an acknowledgement of the many reforms undertaken by Malaysia to tackle corruption and enhance further governance and integrity," he said in a statement here yesterday.

Among the measures are the setting up of the Malaysian Institute of Integrity, the holding of town hall sessions with the media on actions taken by the Government on findings in the Auditor-General's Report and the introduction of the Certified Integrity Officer programme to further promote integrity and ethics at workplace.

Dr Ali was commenting on Ugaz's speech at the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) on Wednesday, where he was reported to have said that Malaysia was facing a corruption crisis.

This follows allegations of RM2.6bil (S$858 million) transferred into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's personal account. The MACC had since announced that the money allegedly deposited came from donors and not 1MDB.

Corruption, said Dr Ali, was also one of the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) under the Government Transformation Programme, reflecting Malaysia's seriousness and commitment in fighting corruption, adding that integrity units were set up in all agencies.

With the introduction of initiatives and reforms by Pemudah to reduce bureaucratic procedures and enhance government delivery, Malaysia, he added, was now ranked 18th among 189 economies, up from its previous position at 24th in 2008.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said claimed that Ugaz's statement was malicious and politically motivated.

"It is a statement influenced by opposition and anti-national elements in the country," she said.

Azalina said accusing Malaysia of facing a corruption crisis implicated not just ministers but the judiciary, civil service and everybody else in the country.

"It is unfortunate that TI is abusing its power and influence to make such a malicious and defamatory statement," she said.