Me & corruption – a true story
Man behind the curtain

The 2019 Asia Pacific Corruption Index

| Transparency International

BERLIN - A regional average of 45, after many consecutive years of an average score of 44, illustrates general corruption performance stagnation across the Asia Pacific.

Despite the presence of high performers like New Zealand (87), Singapore (85), Australia (77), Hong Kong (76) and Japan (73), the Asia Pacific region hasn’t witnessed substantial progress in anti-corruption efforts or results.

In addition, low performers like Afghanistan (16), North Korea (17) and Cambodia (20) continue to highlight serious challenges in the region.

While often seen as an engine of the global economy, in terms of political integrity and governance, the region performs only marginally better than the global average.

Many countries see economic openness as a way forward, however, governments across the region, from China to Cambodia to Vietnam, continue to restrict participation in public affairs, silence dissenting voices and keep decision-making out of public scrutiny.

Given these issues, it comes as no surprise that vibrant economic powers like China (41), Indonesia (40), Vietnam (37), the Philippines (34) and others continue to struggle to tackle corruption.

Even in democracies, such as Australia and India, unfair and opaque political financing and undue influence in decision-making and lobbying by powerful corporate interest groups, result in stagnation or decline in control of corruption.

Country to watch: Papua New Guinea

More progress is needed to make real change in Papua New Guinea and civil society organisations must remain vigilant in holding the government accountable.

With a score of 28, PNG remains stagnant on the corruption perceptions index (CPI). However, despite low performance on the CPI for years, recent anti-corruption developments are encouraging.

Following the removal of former prime minister O’Neill, currently being investigated for alleged corruption, the government instituted structural changes and introduced new legislation to establish an Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC).

Together, these small improvements give citizens a reason for optimism.

Under the current leadership of prime minister Marape, the government should uphold its previous commitments, as well as its 20-year anti-corruption strategy established in 2012, and work to investigate and punish bribery, fraud, conflicts of interest, nepotism and other corrupt acts

Country to watch: Indonesia

The re-election of president Joko Widodo was a setback to political integrity that surprised many, undercutting the impressive democratic and anti-corruption resurgence the country experienced in the last few years.

With a score of 40, Indonesia improves by two points on the CPI. A promising emerging economy is coupled with repression of civil society and weak oversight institutions.

The independence and effectiveness of Indonesia’s anti-corruption commission, the KPK, is currently being thwarted by the government.

The Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK) is seen as a symbol of progress and modernisation, but is undergoing a loss of autonomy and power. President Widodo’s own agenda, which prioritises foreign investment and a booming economy.

With corruption issues in the limelight, Indonesia risks scaring off investors and slowing economic progress.

Paradoxically, this contradicts the government’s aspirations and president Widodo’s own agenda, which prioritises foreign investment and a booming economy. With corruption issues in the limelight, Indonesia risks scaring off investors and slowing economic progress


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Arthur Williams

The complete 2019 TPI Report is an interesting read if you have time to waste like me!

New Zealand is top of transparency along with Norway. With the city nation of Singapore being the only non-North European joining them in the top 10.

Russia is in same league position with PNG at 28/100 and part of the 52 countries or almost 30% of all nations below a score of 30/100.

At joint 12th position scoring 77/100 are Australia, Canada, Austria and UK. Though perhaps more pertinent for Poms is elsewhere in the report:

"In fact, if counted together, the United Kingdom and its Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies would top the Financial Secrecy Index, given the staggering scale of their undisclosed financial activities.

"Our research has found over 1,200 anonymous companies registered in the Overseas Territories used in 237 major scandals, which have caused over £250 billion in economic damage around the world, and this is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg."

So much for revelations of ‘The Panama’ and ‘Paradise’ tax haven papers. No wonder some say the world will be Brexit Britain’s oyster.

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