24 November, 2010
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said that the negative public perception on corruption in the country's politics cannot be used as a barometer to assess the extent of corruption in the country as a whole.
Public perception need not necessarily be a reality because much of it was based on factors that were not clear or accurate.
Liew said this in response to a question by Fuziah Salleh (PKR-Kuantan) who wanted to know whether the government was aware that based on the Global Corruption Barometer Survey 2009, the Malaysians' perception on political party corruption was at its worst.
She claimed this was different from the 2009 Annual Report of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) which stated that 15 members of political parties were facing prosecution for corruption.
Liew responded by saying that the 15 political party members were prosecuted by MACC based on facts and law. Fuziah also challenged the government to make it compulsory for asset disclosure by politicians, as was being done in Indonesia during the election season, to reflect the government's transparency in combating corruption in the country.
Liew also hit out at Fuziah for not stating the actual facts of the survey by Transparency International, especially on the finding that only four percent of respondents opined that the country's parliament was corrupt, compared with 47 per cent in Indonesia.
"And in other countries like India, Thailand and South Korea, the corruption perception in political parties is much higher than Malaysia, which is 58 per cent, 54 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively. In Malaysia, it is only 42 percent," he said.
He also said that the study was based on information obtained from the people in February last year, which was before Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak took over the federal government's administration and introduced the National Key Result Areas (NKRA).
"Under the NKRA, the government set the agenda to fight corruption as the main thrust," he added.
Liew also said that the court's failure to convict a person of corruption did not mean that MACC was not doing its job.
"When a politician is taken to the court, he will be allowed to get a good lawyer to defend him.
"So, if he is not convicted, it does not mean that the MACC is not doing its job, but possibly the accused has engaged the best lawyer to represent him in court," he added.