Cops get worst score
Llew-Ann Phang, sun2surf
In the inaugural Malaysian Transparency Perception Survey 2007 by Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) and the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research, both members of the public and corporate sector gave the police the worst score.
TI-M president Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said in ranking the enforcement agencies perceived to have the lowest level of integrity and transparency, 56% of the public named the police, followed by the Road Transport Department (25%) and Customs (19%).
He said 59% of the corporate respondents named the police as well, followed by political parties (52%) and Customs (35%).
"Both sectors felt that government agencies at risk, especially enforcement agencies, remain unchanged, despite all efforts to mitigate such perceptions, but it takes a long time to root out evil and diseases," he told a press conference yesterday.
In the private sector, the building and construction industry was perceived to have the lowest level of integrity by both the public and corporate respondents.
The survey found that human services like health and education were perceived to be the cleanest and the public remained optimistic that the level of integrity and transparency will improve.
Navaratnam said TI-M would like to work with the government to address the problem. "There is no need to criticise all the time because in the end, we want the same goals though in different approaches."
The survey polled 1,025 respondents from the public and 411 from the corporate sector.
Merdeka Centre director Ibrahim Suffian said the survey on the public across Peninsular Malaysia was conducted using the centre's Household Telephone Database between Nov 30 and Dec 8.
Corporate respondents - senior employees or those engaged in business in
"The questionnaires were distributed via a network comprising trade and industry organisations, corporate training organisations and directly to participating individuals," Ibrahim said, adding that this was carried out from Dec 11 to Jan 12.
Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee chairman Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad, who launched the survey report, said in his keynote address that "we have neglected something basic - the security and safety of the country, especially for the police".
He said for the situation to improve, adjustments needed to be made to the salary, infrastructure and work conditions of the police.
Commenting on the view that the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) should report directly to Parliament, Shahrir said Parliament had to play its role as an institution before such a measure could be implemented.
He said in order to make progress, politicians must sometimes stop being partisan and be legislators guided by the general good.
The ACA comes under the Prime Minister's Department.
Other key findings include:
- 40% of the public and 52% of the corporate respondents said public sector integrity remained unchanged in the past 12 months;
- 46% (public) and 26% (corporate) expect this to improve in the next 12 months;
- 40% (public) and 54% (corporate) said private sector integrity remained the same in the past 12 months;
- 45% (public) and 29% (corporate) expect this to improve in the next year;
- 30% (public) and 47% (corporate) admitted to having paid bribes or knowing someone who had done so, mainly to avoid inconvenience;
- Bribe-paying experience among the public: Chinese (58%), Indian (23%), Malay (14%). [56% of the people polled were Malay, 34% Chinese and 10% Indian];
- 54% of the public and 71% of the corporate respondents said there was no transparency in government procurement processes.
- 95% of the public and 82% of the corporate respondents supported legislation to protect whistleblowers; and
- 78% of the public and 76% of the corporate respondents want the ACA to report to Parliament.