KUALA LUMPUR – September 2, 2015: Malaysia is far from its way to be a failed state despite the “distressing picture” currently painted by certain quarters.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department senator Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan made the assertion while delivering his keynote speech at the 16th International Anti-Corruption Convention (IACC) here today.
Low said,“things are certainly not as gloomy as they have been made out to be.”
He argued that if corruption was indeed rampant in the country as alleged by those who are against the government, then the economy would be the first to suffer.
However, he said, statistically, the figures related to the country’s economy does not tally with prerequisites of a failed state.
In substantiating his views, Low, quoted several economic indicators that showed the reality of Malaysia’s economic health.
“The country achieved an average Real GDP (Gross Domestic Product) Growth of 5.3 per cent per annum (p.a) during the 10th Malaysia Plan between 2011 and 2015 where global average growth was 3.6 per cent p.a. and emerging markets and developing economies were averaging 5 per cent p.a.
“We also have a low unemployment rate of 2.9 per cent. Our fiscal deficit reduced from -6.4 per cent in 2009 to -3.4 per cent in 2014, and expected to be -3.2 per cent in 2015 in spite of the current unfavourable economic conditions,” he said.
He also said that the country’s incidence of poverty reduced from 49.3 per cent in 1970 to 3.8 per cent in 2009 and to 0.6 per cent in 2014.
“The existence of corruption usually affects the poor in many countries, but Malaysia has been able to mitigate and reduce the level of poverty to an enviable low level.
“We have achieved an equitable income distribution among the population so much that we now have a vibrant middle-class society.
“Malaysia had also ranked 20th most competitive nation out of 144 countries (World Economic Forum) and 6th place out of 189 for ease-of-doing-business (World Bank).
“Malaysia would not have achieved these results if its corruption were so bad as to be really damaging to its economic progress,” he said.
Nonetheless, Low said that the government recognises the need to curb or eradicate the existing level of corruption.
“We are very mindful that our vision to be a developed nation by 2020 cannot be achieved unless we embark on an aggressive transformation initiative to curb corruption significantly.
“Under the National Key Results Area(NKRA) for Corruption, we set for ourselves the target of achieving a Transparency International CPI (Corruption Perception Index) score 70 from the current 52 today and to move up in rank among the countries surveyed from the current placing of 50 to be in the top 30 by 2020,” he said.
The 16th IACC is a three days conference held from today to Sept 4th at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC).
It is jointly organised by the Malaysian government through the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Transparency International – Malaysian Chapter.
Representatives from 135 countries are attending the conference which aims to foster global exchange of experience and methodologies in fighting corruption under the theme “Ending Impunity: People. Integrity. Action.”