Although corruption is not a new phenomenon, in recent years, corruption has become a major issue in developing countries; it is also widespread and part of everyday life. Not only that, corruption has become a serious obstacle in the development process of developing countries. Because of corruption good governance can be weakened, public policy can be misrepresented and it can also lead to misapplication of resources and harm the economic development (Bernhard, 1997; Rose-Ackerman, 1999, as cited in Suicide, 2009).
Furthermore, Tuscany (2012) points out that “corruption has been a critical obstacle for social development n a number of countries because of the devastating effect the deprivation of funds has had on them”. In addition, many believe that most anti-corruption strategies in developing countries are failing and even with the anti-corruption strategies the corruption level remains high. Weeks and Matthias (2012) believe that “anti- corruption is competitive: if successful it will create losers, and the corrupt tend to fight back” (p. 535). However, there are also a few countries known as successful examples in fighting corruption.
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This essay will show how effective is the anti- irruption strategies in developing countries by using Malaysia, Ghana, Hong Kong and Singapore as an examples. Although The Malaysian Government has several strategies to combat corruption, its attempts and strategies have only little success. They has come up with elaborate strategies with the goal of controlling corruption and promoting good governance, using major institutions like the Anti Corruption Agency (CA), established in 1967 and the Public Complaints Bureau (PC) established in 1971.
CA is also believed to be the most important and powerful anti-corruption institution in Malaysia Suicide, 2009). The Coca’s responsibility is to prevent and eradicate all forms of corruption with three key components, which are education, prevention and enforcement, while PC is responsible to receive and investigate all the complaints from the public about government administration. However, many believe that the effectiveness of this institution is questioned because of PC’s possible lack of any executive power.
Moreover, despite the strategies of the Malaysian government using those institutions, evidence shows that corruption level in Malaysia has not shown NY significant decrease but aggravated in recent years. According to Corruption Perceptions Index (ICP) Malaysia’s rank has slipped from 23 to 47 through the years of 1995-2008, although there was a slight improvement in 2007. This has shown the ineffectiveness of the anti-corruption strategies in Malaysia.
It is believed that the reason for this is the incompetence or unwillingness of the government to fight corruption. Many people often mistrusted CA for not carrying out their responsibility because they have not done anything to bring corrupt officials in lattice, business and administrative circles to Justice but are Just busy doing something small (Suicide, 2005; Leone, 2006, as cited in Suicide, 2009). The other example of a developing country that has a serious problem in fighting corruption is Ghana.
A recent national survey in Ghana found that 75 per cent of all households feel that corruption is a serious national problem, with 80 per cent believing that corruption has worsened in the recent past (Africa Peer Review Mechanism, 2005, as cited in Abdullah, 2014). Just like Malaysia, Ghana is also tempting to fight corruption by using the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHARM) and The Serious Fraud Office (SF) as institutions to investigate and monitor any problems involving serious financial or economic loss to the state.
These two institutions are operating under the control of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. Therefore, without the approval of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice CHARM and SF cannot prosecute corrupt officials. However, many believe that because of this, CHARM and SF are unable to fight corruption effectively. As shown in history, the Ghanaian Governments had ignored the findings of anti-corruption agencies by whitewashing white paper.
What it means is the Ghanaian Government often covers up and clears up the corrupt officials of any wrongdoing. Not only that, CHARM and SF also has a serious problem regarding the funding of the institutions. These institutions lack financial independence, as their entire budget must be approved by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. In order to provide the whole of Goof’s much smaller budget, in recent years The Government of Ghana has failed numerous times bringing only 6. Billion cedes or $ 673,684 USED (Keith, 2005, as cited Abdullah, 2014).
In contrast to these two countries, which have been proven to have ineffective anti- corruption strategies, there are also countries that are widely recognized to be successful in fighting corruption. The first example is Singapore. Despite the serious corruption problem that occurred in Singapore during British colonial period (Aqua, 2009), Singapore now successfully fights corruption. Different from the first two example Singapore anti-corruption institution, Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CHIP) is more independent in terms of action in combating corruption than Malaysia’s and Shania’s anti-corruption institutions.
Spic’s Job is investigating the act of corrupt and preparing the evidence for prosecution. Nichols (2012) points out that CHIP also has a similarity with Malaysia’s CA, both of the institutions answer to the Prime Minister. As CHIP is located in the Prime Minister’s Office, it does make it less independent (Abdullah, 2014). However, it is still independent in its structure, personnel and finance. Moreover, with the full support from the top political adhering, CHIP has effectively reduced corruption in Singapore.
Aqua (1999, as cited in Abdullah, 2014) claims that CHIP has an easier access to crucial information for investigation purpose and it also has the power to control both public and private sector organizations because of its location in the Prime Minister’s office. Finally, the last example of the countries that is quite successful in combating corruption is Hong Kong. Hong Kong is well-known for the efficiency of its anti-corruption institution (Gong & Wang, 2012), such as Independent Commission Against Corruption (IAC), which was established in 1974, is the anti-corruption institution in Hong Kong.
Not much different from the other anti-corruption institutions, ‘Sac’s Job is to investigate contentions of corruption and prevent corruption by improving public sector procedures and system, also to alert the public about corruption (Independent Commission Against Corruption, 2002, as cited in Abdullah, 2014). IAC was divided into three departments, the Operation Department to investigate the corruption, the Corruption Prevention Department to examine the public sector and identify opportunities for corruption, and the last one is the Community Relations Department to educate public to fight against corruption.
This institution appears to be even more successful than Malaysia’s CA, Shania’s CRASH and SF, and Singapore CHIP. It is believe that IAC has more freedom and also more independent than those anti-corruption institutions. For instance, IAC officer does not need a warrant to arrest the offences indicated in IAC Ordinance. Mao, Penn, and Wong (2013) profess that the IAC is also believed to successful in changing society’s perspective about corruption.
In conclusion, the anti-corruption strategies in developing countries have yet to show their effectiveness, as people may know that corruption levels in most developing countries remain high. It is believed that this happens because of the lack of commitment and willingness of the government to combat corruption, like in Malaysia and Ghana. However, there are also countries like Singapore and Hong Kong, which used to be developing countries and known to be successful in fighting and reducing corruption. This is probably achieved by the support they got from the governments and also their will and commitment to fight irruption.
It is also appears that the more successful anti-corruption institutions in Singapore and Hong Kong are also more independent than those in Malaysia and Ghana. Furthermore, what countries like Malaysia and Ghana should do is to learn and adapt anti-corruption strategies from successful countries in order for them to be better at reducing the corruption in their countries. REFERENCE LIST Abdullah, A. (2014). Political will in combating corruption in developing countries and transition economies: A comparative study of Singapore, Hong Kong and Ghana. Journal of Financial Crime, 16(4), 387-417.
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