Malaysia's all-out war on corruption

KUALA LUMPUR - The government is rolling out a transformation programme to fight corruption at all levels of government ministries.

Under the programme, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan said officers from the Attorney-General's Chambers and the Integrity Institute of Malaysia (IIM) would be placed at all ministries to assess and improve their work processes.

"We will start with the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry tomorrow (today), followed by the Youth and Sports Ministry before going to other ministries," he said in a press conference after launching the National Integrity Seminar 2013 here.

He expressed hope that all ministries could be covered within a year. Asked why the two ministries were picked first, Low said: "We believe that young ministers are more open to changes", adding that it was not because the ministries had "higher risk".

"The transformation programme is a big step that the government has embarked on to inculcate good governance which will be translated into sound and proper administrative practices.

"Good governance would impact all levels, including the public who will feel and see the improvements,"he added.

He added that the move would give a different perspective to the respective ministries on ways to tackle shortcomings.

"This is a model that has never been tried in any part of the world and we believe that many countries are watching us and may want to follow this programme."

Low also said as each ministry had its own peculiarities in operations, its risk profile for abuses was also different.

The key areas to be dealt with in each ministry are:

IMPROVING the process and transparency of procurements;

IMPROVING accountability and mitigating corruption risk in the service agencies under the ministry;

TAKING remedial measures on the findings of the Auditor-General's Report;

FORGING anti-corruption sectorial coalitions with stakeholders, including the private sector;

MONITORING key projects; and,

FORGING cultural change for good ethical behaviour to institutionalise good practices and improve institutionary memory to ensure proper custodianship of records for accurate audit trail of decisions.

Low also said Malaysia received a score of 5.5 points, with 10 being the best and one being the worst.

Using Transparency International as a benchmark, Malaysia was ranked 50th out of 180 countries in terms of corruption and transparency.

"We should move up to at least seven points and in the next five years, climb to level 30 and strive to be ranked among the top 10."

Under the National Key Results Areas programme, combating corruption is among the seven key areas of priority for the government. It was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in 2010.

Last year, it was reported that Malaysia saw a marked improvement in the corruption perception index from 2011 when the country fell four places from 2010's 56th position.