KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — Malaysia’s positive achievement in Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index 2019 should be sustained with meaningful structural reforms continuing to be prioritised, according to a corporate leader and a think-tank.
The index, released by Tl Malaysia last Thursday, saw Malaysia, under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, jumping 10 spots to 51st place from 61st in 2018 with a notable increase in score to 53 in 2019 from 47 in 2018.
Applauding Putrajaya for the achievement, they concurred that this significant improvement was a testament to the reform work being done in the nearly two years under the PH government.
Top Glove Corporation Bhd executive chairman Tan Sri Dr Lim Wee Chai told Bernama that it is very encouraging to see the government placing a high priority on restoring integrity and battling corruption.
Having said that, he believes there is still room to improve and to work faster in order to make Malaysia a corruption-free nation.
The 62-year-old entrepreneur is a firm believer that a corruption-free environment is essential for businesses to thrive as it inspires investor and business confidence.
In this journey, he urged the government to join hands with the private sector and citizens to overcome the corruption barrier in order to progress and become an advanced individual, company and nation.
Although there was already an allocation from the government to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Lim wants to see more allocation and active efforts in enforcement, which will enable the agency to make meaningful progress in the war against corruption.
Under the 2020 Budget, the government has allocated RM10 million to further empower the MACC in conducting Risk Assessment Tests for all ministries, departments and agencies.
Lim urged all government servants to wear a badge to reinforce their stand against corruption and demonstrate their commitment towards preventing its occurrence.
“Bribery and corruption is a crime and preventing it is every Malaysian’s duty,” he said.
Action speaks louder than words. Under Lim’s leadership, Top Glove became the first private company in Malaysia to be certified with the ISO 37001:2016 Anti Bribery Management System.
“Our business ethics are honesty, integrity and transparency. We make it a point to instil integrity in our everyday operations and activities,” he said.
For example, every one of the company’s 18,000 employees wears an anti-corruption badge which reads “To prevent corruption and bribery. Corruption and bribery is a crime”.
The manufacturer of gloves — which commands 26 per cent of the world’s market share — always starts its meeting with the Business Ethics Clap, reading out “Honesty, Integrity and Transparency”.
Everyone who does business with the company is also required to sign a Letter of Enforcement of Corporate Culture to declare that they will always be honest and transparent in their dealings.
“All these may be small things, but they are an effective reminder for us to act with integrity at all times,” Lim said.
On Jan 8, 2020, Top Glove launched an Anti Bribery and Anti-Corruption Handbook, reaffirming its commitment to continue to do its part to fight corruption and promote integrity within the company and business associates.
Top Glove also held an Anti Corruption pledge for the company, led by its board of directors.
Meanwhile, the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs highlighted that the launch of the National Anti-Corruption Plan in early 2019 was a bold step in recognising the weaknesses in the anti-corruption system that contributed to the improvements.
“After many years of languishing, the marked improvement in both our rank and score in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2019 is indeed very encouraging,” its research manager Aira Nur Ariana Azhari noted in a statement.
The MACC has proven to be serious in combating corruption at the highest levels, she said.
At the governmental level, Aira opined that the current index performance needs to be sustained and reforms must continue to be prioritised, such as on the public procurement system to ensure competitiveness, transparency and value for money.
“The National Anti-Corruption Plan named procurement as the sector most prone to corruption,” she said, adding that this was based on complaints received by the MACC.
She also expressed hope for the Political Finance Bill to be tabled in the March parliamentary session this year.
The bill focuses on the regulatory aspect of political contributions in efforts to eliminate corruption and create a corruption-free ecosystem among future generations based on the principles of transparency, accountability and integrity.