KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's ranking on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) dropped by one place in 2016, with the country now ranked 55th out of 176 countries.
Malaysia also dropped one point in the index, scoring 49 out of 100, said a report by global graft monitor Transparency International.
Denmark and New Zealand came in as joint first places as "clean" countries, while Somalia with a score of 10 came in last, preceded by South Sudan which scored 11.
According to the report, 69 per cent of the 176 countries on CPI 2016 scored below 50, adding that this year, more countries declined in the index, not improved.
The CPI scale indicates that zero is perceived to be highly corrupted while 100 is perceived to be very clean.
Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Datuk Akhbar Satar, at a press conference today, explained why Malaysia's CPI index dropped despite the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) aggressive war against corruption.
Akhbar said this was because the report ended in August, and didn't take into account other arrests made by MACC from September onwards.
He also noted that 55 per cent of MACC's arrests were from the ‘Bottom 40’ (B40) category, not those of higher ranks.
Akhbar however acknowledged that MACC, under its new stewardship, had proven its effectiveness in tackling several high profile cases last year, which led to the seizures of millions of ringgit and arrest of several high-profile figures.
He also suggested that the authorities do more to eliminate "middle-man agents" who promote themselves as being able to procure government contracts.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s neighbours Singapore, Laos and Myanmar saw improvements in their rankings. Singapore is now placed seventh, scoring 84 points (up from eighth in 2015 with a score of 85, while Laos moved up to 123rd spot from 139 in 2015, scoring 30 points this year.
Myanmar is now ranked 136, up from 147 in 2015 with a score of 28 this year.
The CPI uses data from eight secondary expert studies on corruption, crime and justice issues all over the world to measure perceived levels of public sector corruption.
Malaysia’s rankings in the three previous years hovered at around the same level but it reached its highest in 2014 where it scored 52 points and ranked 50 out of all countries worldwide.
Malaysia scored 50 in 2013 and 49 in 2012.