Transparency International’s(TI) Recognition Of Penang State Government’s Anti-Corruption Efforts Through CAT Governance Of Competency Accountability And Transparency Is Backed Up By Savings Of Nearly 12% Of The 2008 State Budget Of RM 36 Milllion From Operating Expenditure.
Transparency International’s(TI) recognition of anti-corruption efforts by the Penang state government through CAT governance is backed up by savings of nearly 12% of the 2008 Penang state budget of RM 36 million from operating expenditure. This RM 36 million savings has allowed the state government to carry out social programs and implement its people-oriented government of 3Es that:
– Enables the people with skills, knowledge and education to provide equal opportunity for all to create wealth
– Empowers the people with fundamental rights, basic freedoms and responsibilities with full observance for the rule of law
– Enrich the people by sharing wealth and economic benefits to pursue socio-economic justice
The success of the Penang Pakatan Rakyat state government in fighting corruption has been commended by Transparency International in the 2009 Global Corruption Report(GCR) released yesterday that stated,
“Penang state has introduced several measures to improve the regulatory environment with regard to government procurement, in what is referred to as a CAT – a Competent, Accountable and Transparent – government. It is the first state government to implement the open tender system for government procurement and contracts. As an example, in civil works, contractors are able to bid in an open tender process and to review the successful contractors and object if they are not satisfied. Furthermore, the Penang government has issued a directive whereby all administrators and state executive councilors are not allowed to make any new land applications. It has also invited professionals to serve on various boards, such as the Penang State Appeals Board, and has established a Working Professional Committee comprising individuals from five different professional bodies to improve land procedures.”
On behalf of the Penang state government, we feel humbled by the recognition given by a world renowned body such as Transparency International and would redouble efforts to ensure the anti-corruption reforms are institutionalized and ensure more professionals are appointed to key bodies. Fighting corruption generate savings for the people.
Apart from the RM 36 million in savings from operating expenditure, the 2 local authorities in Penang are expected to save another RM 34 million over three years. This additional savings were achieved from the transparent negotiation over the price of solid waste disposal that reduced the rates agreed to by the previous BN administration by a further 42.4%.
The Malaysian government would profit from the recommendations from the GCR 2009. Of great concern is the observation by PEMUDAH, the government’s special task force to facilitate business, citing a World Bank study, estimates that corruption could cost Malaysia as much as RM10 billion a year – an amount equivalent to 1 or 2 per cent of GDP. PEMUDAH notes that, per capita, Malaysia spends only RM5 (approximately US$1.5) on anti-corruption efforts.
PEMUDAH also notes that the ACA investigated only 10.1 per cent, or just 7,223 cases, of the total 71,558 reported between 2000 and 2006. The number of people successfully convicted was only 0.7 per cent, or 524, of those suspected of corruption. The GCR 2009 concluded that this illustration of the Malaysian government’s inaction in the light of the serious corruption allegations, along with its seeming inability to catch the big fish instead focusing on the ‘small fry’, suggests that what anti-corruption efforts exist are mere tokens.
RM 10 billion in losses from corruption per year is a huge sum and there must be greater commitment from the Federal government towards fighting corruption to ensure that 27 million Malaysians can benefit from this RM 10 billion dividend from successfully combating corruption.