I am aware of such comments. However, these headlines are derived from surveys based on perceptions. Most of us rely on more empirical measurements that are used by reliable independent groups. An example is the Transparency International Index. In the index, Malaysia is currently ranked no 50 out of 175 countries, improving 3 spots from the year before. If we are the most corrupted country, why are we nowhere near number 175?
I find it troubling that someone who used to continually criticise the international media as being biased now suddenly believes and takes their arguments as the truth.
Remember this veteran leader once went on record to describe the western media as ‘biased’ in describing their administration. So, the western media criticising that administration is biased, but when they criticise my administration, they are not? There appears to be a double standard here.
Recently Transparency International reiterated that Malaysia’s corruption is under control, and the country’s growing foreign investment is proof of it. The 2015 Index of Economic Freedom ranked Malaysia as the 31st freest economy among 178 countries, with a score of 70.8 points. It is an increase of 1.2 points since last year, with improvements in freedom from corruption, business freedom, and trade freedom outweighing a decline in labour freedom and the management of government spending.
Bloomberg has rated us the 5th most promising emerging market in 2015 and the only ASEAN country in its ‘top 10.’
The World Bank has further upgraded us from number 20 in 2014 to number 18 in 2015 in their ‘Ease of Doing Business’ Index.
How is it that we have improved in these competitive world rankings and yet we are also supposed to be as corrupt as certain parties claim us to be?
Of course the issues raised by the Auditor General’s Report must be addressed and resolved. However, what is important here is we are making progress. In 2013, there were 418 items highlighted but in 2014, it came down to 319. We hope to continue reducing it much further in years to come.