98% say ‘no’ to corrupt leaders holding top govt postsHemananthani Sivanandam
Tan Sri Ramon V. Navaratnam
KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 3, 2009) : A whopping 98% of the people will not accept politicians involved in corruption holding a senior government post.This was the finding of the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research from a voter survey conducted between Dec 26, 2008 and Jan 2 this year. The survey interviewed 1,018 randomly selected registered voters via telephone. Transparency International Malaysia president Tan Sri Ramon V. Navaratnam said the findings confirmed TI-Malaysia’s perception that corruption is widespread in the country."This is borne out by the CPI (Corruption Perception Index) among other countries. Although the government has taken considerable steps to fight corruption, the negative perceptions will continue for several reasons," he said.Malaysia’s ranking on the CPI declined to 47 out of 180 countries in 2008, compared with 36 out of 91 countries in 2001 and 43 out of 179 countries in 2007.Navaratnam said perceptions are hard to change in the short term, and public perception is that all measures have so far not been able to focus on the major culprits (perpetrators of corruption)."The Merdeka survey hits the nail on the head and dismisses allegations that the CPI is not accurate enough. Unless more big fishes are caught, the perception will continue," he added.The survey also asked respondents for their views on the newly formed Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to replace the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA). However, 57% of the Chinese and 50% of the Indian respondents said they were not confident of the commission.Navaratnam said it is too soon to make a decision as the commission is in its early days. However, he urged the MACC to show it is different from ACA within the first 100 days."I urge the MACC to go to the root of all evil and charge and convict some big fish in order to show the difference, or else the public will regard MACC as ‘old hat’ and this is most unfortunate because opportunity given to MACC will be lost," he said.Navaratnam said he was confident of better results and performance from the MACC. The survey also revealed that people can accept politicians involved in sex scandals appointed to senior government positions. About 72% of the respondents said they would not mind of leaders whose career has been tainted by such controversies.