Hong Kong– The latest list ofAsia’s most corrupt nations issued by the well-respected Political & Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC)threw up no major surprises.Indonesia– ranking 9.25 on a scale from zero to 10 - topped the list, followed by thePhilippinesandVietnam.
Singaporewas ranked as the cleanest in the region, with a score of 0.65, followed byJapanwith 3.46 andHong Kongwith 3.50.Taiwanfollowed with 6.15;South Korea(6.50);Malaysia(6.80);Thailand(7.20);China(7.68);andIndia(8.63).
“The issue of corruption could make or breakIndonesia,” the Hong Kong-based consulting firm said in a study published on March 8.
Graft could break the country because it might make militant Islamic groups more appealing to people who might see the groups as the best way to reorder society, PERC said.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono must deliver on his promises to crack down on corruption. His mission has become more pressing as billions of dollars in aid flow in to victims of the Dec 26 tsunami, the report said.
"All eyes are onIndonesia," it said.
In thePhilippines, the report said one of the biggest failings of President GloriaArroyo has been her government's inability to reduce corruption.
The firm said that thePhilippines- which ranked No. 2 on the graft list with a score of 8.9 - needed to beef up its anti-corruption forces.
Vietnamwas No. 3 on the list because corruption is "rampant in powerful state-controlled companies and government ministries",the report said.
The country is trying to fight the problem by cracking down on some high-profile targets - like officials in large state-owned companies.
In an editorial, the Philippine Star described the Perc list as “one list that we don’t want to top”.
It noted that the country had indeed made some progress in the campaign against corruption in recent months,as can be seen by ranking government officials being indicted, suspended or dismissed for unexplained wealth.
But the newspaper added: “Graft busters mean business, but their message is slow in getting out, and it is being muddled by continuing corruption at all levels of the bureaucracy…The latest PERC survey is a reminder of how much work remains to be done in stamping out corruption.”
* RI, Philippines and Vietnamare the most corrupt Asian nations (The Jakarta Post, March 8)
* Second worst (The Philippine Star, March 9)