9 Dec 2006 - The Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) officially released the National Integrity System (NIS) study on Singapore commissioned by Transparency International.
The launch date also marks International Anti-Corruption Day, initiated after the 2003 signing conference for the United Nations Convention against Corruption in Mérida, Mexico. Entered into force on 14 December 2005, Singapore became signatory to the Convention on 11 November 2005.
The NIS study of Singapore is part of a regional project to analyse the integrity systems in East and South East Asia. 10 studies are being completed in 2006 as part of this series, including Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea,Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The study, drawing on interviews with government agencies, analyses the key institutions, laws and practices that contribute to integrity, transparency and accountability in Singapore society and the extent to which they function in practice.
The study also builds on Singapore’s fifth placing – the same ranking as last year – on the Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index 2006 released in November, with Finland, Iceland and New Zealand tied for top spot with 9.6 points out of 10, Denmark taking fourth with 9.5, followed by Singapore’s 9.4 points.
According to lead author Simon Tay, chairman of SIIA, Singapore’s consistent record in and model of anti-corruption observes a different articulation from other countries and institutions. The concept of national integrity is internalised and embedded in the country’s laws, governance and administrative processes.
The study also related that many of the government’s efforts are made specifically for anti-corruption measures, involving many different agencies and striving not just to investigate and punish but also to inculcate values through training, publicity and other measures. These efforts are also allied to concepts of good governance, efficiency and rationality and providing a high quality of service to the citizens and residents of Singapore, as factors to give Singapore a competitive economic advantage and an ethos of meritocracy and fairness.
Notwithstanding Singapore’s considerable achievements, the study identified priority areas and recommendations for further improvement, such as developing an inter-agency effort to have oversight over all parts of the system, as well as legislating formally the independent functions of key agencies such as the CPIB and the Elections Department – currently granted as a matter of policy and tradition rather than formal law – to offer additional insulation against any possibility of errant government leadership.
The study also recommended for the Singapore government to consider playing an active role in discouraging corruption in a broader regional context, in cooperation with reforming government leaders of neighbouring states. Finally, the role of the media and civil society can be increased to include anti-corruption and integrity efforts, to offer an additional check and balance for governmental action, as well as promoting the country’s best practices to the region.
Apart from country-based NIS studies in East and Southeast Asia, Transparency International has also commissioned National University of Singapore Professor of Political Science and leading expert on corruption in Asia, Jon Quah, to prepare a regional overview report.
Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption. The SIIA was commissioned by Transparency International to conduct a study on Singapore’s National Integrity System. The full report can be accessed at TI’s website at:http://www.transparency.org/
About the NIS Studies:The NIS study of Singapore is part of a regional project to analyse the integrity systems in East and South East Asia. 10 studies are being completed in 2006 as part of this series, including Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Developed by TI, NIS studies analyse the key institutions, laws and practices that contribute to integrity, transparency and accountability in a society. The quality and credibility of the study’s methodology has been assured internationally, with over 55 studies produced as of August 2006. The research goes through a rigorous process of review by external focus groups and experts before it is released.