Corruption in Malaysia

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According to a 2013 public survey in Malaysia by Transparency International, a majority of the surveyed households perceived Malaysian political parties to be highly corrupt.[1] A quarter of the surveyed households consider the government's efforts in the fight against corruption to be ineffective.[1]

Transparency International's 2017 Corruption Perception Index ranks the country 62nd place out of 180 countries.[2]

Business executives surveyed in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014 reveal that unethical behaviours of companies constitute a disadvantage for doing business in Malaysia.[3] Government contracts are sometimes awarded to well-connected companies, and the policies of awarding huge infrastructure projects to selected Bumiputera companies without open tender continue to exist.[4]

Corruption Perceptions Index[edit]

Corruption is a problem. Malaysia had a corruption score of 52 out of 100 (high scores are less corrupt); this makes Malaysia the 2nd "cleanest" country in SE Asia, 9th out of 28 in APAC and 50th of the 175 countries assessed worldwide.

Transparency International list Malaysia's key corruption challenges as:

  1. Political and Campaign Financing: Donations (e.g.: USD700Million) from both corporations and individuals to political parties and candidates are not limited in Malaysia. Political parties are also not legally required to report on what funds are spent during election campaigns. Due in part to this political landscape, Malaysia’s ruling party for over 55 years has funds highly disproportionate to other parties. This unfairly impacts campaigns in federal and state elections and can disrupt the overall functioning of a democratic political system.
  2. “Revolving door”: Individuals regularly switch back and forth between working for both the private and public sectors in Malaysia. Such circumstances – known as the ‘revolving door’ – allow for active government participation in the economy and public-private relations to become elusive. The risk of corruption is high and regulating public-private interactions becomes difficult, also allowing for corruption to take place with impunity. Another factor which highlights the extent of ambiguity between the public sector and private corporate ownership is that Malaysia is also a rare example of a country where political parties are not restricted in possessing corporate enterprises.
  3. Access to information: As of April 2013, no federal Freedom of Information Act exists in Malaysia. Although, Selangor and Penang are the only Malaysian states out of thirteen to pass freedom of information legislation, the legislation still suffers from limitations. Should a federal freedom of information act be drafted it would conflict with the Official Secrets Act – in which any document can be officially classified as secret, making it exempt from public access and free from judicial review. Additional laws such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Sedition Act 1949 (subsequently replaced with the National Harmony Act), and the Internal Security Act 1969 also ban the dissemination of official information and offenders can face fines or imprisonment.TI).[5] Malaysia suffers from corporate fraud in the form of intellectual property theft.[6] Counterfeit production of several goods including IT products, automobile parts, etc., are prevalent.[6]

In 2013, Malaysia was identified in a survey by Ernst and Young as one of the most corrupt countries in the region according to the perceptions of foreign business leaders, along with neighbouring countries and China. The survey asked whether it was likely that each country would take shortcuts to achieve economic targets.[7]

Types of Corruption[edit]

Corruption in Immigration Enforcement[edit]

Despite periodic actions by the government to crack down on petty corruption in the Immigration Department, bribe-taking and fraudulent issuance of visas has been a long-standing problem, particularly among immigration officers at the KLIA and KLIA2 terminals of Kuala Lumpur International Airport.[8][9][10] In 2016, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) uncovered a scheme in Selangor, in which immigration officers collected passport application fees from travelers and then submitted fraudulent paperwork declaring them disabled, resulting in fee waivers that amounted to over 1 million Malaysian ringgit by the time the scheme was exposed.[11] In a December, 2016 statement to the Malaysian press, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Samidi estimated that over half of the 1500 immigration officers working in the KLIA and KLIA2 terminals had participated in a range of corrupt practices, including fraudulent issuance of visas, tampering with Immigration Department data, and collusion with human-trafficking agents.[9]

Anti-corruption bodies[edit]

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is a government agency in Malaysia that investigates and prosecutes corruption in the public and private sectors. The MACC was modelled after top anti-corruption agencies, such as the Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption and the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption, Australia.[12]

The MACC is currently headed by Chief Commissioner Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad. He was appointed in 1 August 2016 to replace former Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed.[13][14] Similarly, the agency is currently under the Prime Minister's Department.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Global Corruption Barometer 2013". Transparency International. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  2. ^ e.V., Transparency International. "Corruption Perceptions Index 2017". Retrieved 2018-03-06. 
  3. ^ "Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014". The World Economic Forum. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Malaysia Country Profile". Business Anti-Corruption Portal. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  5. ^ Darryl S. L. Jarvis (2003). International Business Risk: A Handbook for the Asia-Pacific Region. Cambridge University Press. p. 219. ISBN 0-521-82194-0. 
  6. ^ a b Darryl S. L. Jarvis (2003). International Business Risk: A Handbook for the Asia-Pacific Region. Cambridge University Press. p. 220. ISBN 0-521-82194-0. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Editorial, Reuters. "Malaysia cracks down on corruption at immigration". U.S. Retrieved 2018-07-11. 
  9. ^ a b "Over Half Of Malaysian Immigration Officers Found To Be Corrupt And Dealing Directly With Human Traffickers - The Coverage". Retrieved 2018-07-11. 
  10. ^ Desk, The Star (2017-08-08). "Malaysia Immigration Department signs corruption-free pledge". Asia News Network. Retrieved 2018-07-11. 
  11. ^ "MACC: Immigration officers' RM1m passport fraud may be tip of iceberg | Malay Mail". Retrieved 2018-07-11. 
  12. ^ a b "Government Directory: Prime Minister's Department". Office of the Prime Minister of Malaysia. 8 July 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  13. ^ "Siapa Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad Ketua Pesuruhjaya SPRM baharu". (in Malay). 30 July 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2017. 
  14. ^ "Ketua Pesuruhjaya SPRM". SPRM (in Malay). Retrieved 30 November 2017. 

External links[edit]