The rising inflation rate in the country is unacceptable to Malaysians because it is not due to the price hikes alone but also caused by corruption, Transparency International president Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said.
He said the Government needed to be more aggressive in its fight against corruption following inefficiency issues that had a greater impact on the lives of the people especially the poor and disadvantaged.
“The Government is giving treatment to this problem of corruption but I think the dosage needs to be stronger. The Government is going about it in the right way but the illness is quite serious,” he told reporters after giving an overview of the United Nations Development Programme’s Asia-Pacific Human Development Report “Tackling Corruption, Transforming Lives” at a hotel here yesterday.
He said the report revealed that between 2005 and 2007, Malaysia’s score on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2007 improved slightly from 5.05 to 5.10.
The report also examines various internationally recognised measures of corruption including “hidden,” “street” and “petty” corruption, which is often referred to in Malaysia as duit kopi (coffee money).
“Inefficiency breeds corruption. For as long as there is inefficiency, delay in applications of licences involving private sector, for instance, will create opportunity for petty corruption,” he said adding that petty corruption had a greater impact on the lives of the poor.
According to the report, police were the most corrupt public institution, rated at 3.8 (where 1 is the least corrupt and 5 most corrupt), followed by registry and permits at 2.8, judiciary 2.8 and tax offices 2.5.
“The people are affected when we get poor health service, poor education because of corruption and greed.
“It’s a fact that the majority of the poor in the country are Malays and the NEP (New Economic Policy) is being seriously undermined by corruption.” He also asked why the Government had not established Freedom of Information Act, which would give the public access to crucial information on government activities.