See More on Facebook

Politics

Singapore rises to third place in annual ranking of least corrupt countries

The city-state lags behind to only Denmark and New Zealand.


Written by

Updated: January 30, 2019

Singapore has moved up three notches to third spot in an annual ranking of countries deemed to have the least corruption in the public sector, with Denmark and New Zealand ahead of it.

The Republic scored 85 on graft watchdog Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index, which uses a scale that goes from zero, for highly corrupt, to 100, for very clean.

The index released on Tuesday (Jan 29) also shows that, globally, most countries continue to fail in reining in corruption significantly, said Berlin-based Transparency International.

Similar to 2017, more than two-thirds of the countries scored below 50, with an average score of only 43. Since 2012, only 20 countries – including Estonia and Ivory Coast – have significantly improved their scores, while 16 have significantly declined, including Australia, Chile and Malta, noted Transparency International.

It also highlighted the United States dropping out of the top 20 countries on the index for the first time since 2011. The US scored 71, down four points.

“The low score comes at a time when the US is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balances as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power,” Transparency International said.

The Corruption Perceptions Index, started in 1995, ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people. It draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to derive a score for each country.

Singapore scored 85, improving on its 2017’s score of 84, and tying with Finland, Sweden and Switzerland for third place. Leader Denmark scored 88 and New Zealand, 87.

Norway was in seventh place with a score of 84, followed by the Netherlands (82), Canada (81) and Luxembourg (81).

Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) director Denis Tang said Singapore’s public service “continues to be recognised as one of the most efficient and cleanest in the world”.

“Incidence of public sector corruption remains low with an average of eight public sector employees prosecuted for corruption and related offences over the last three years,” Mr Tang said in a statement.

“Working hand-in-hand with all stakeholders and the community, the CPIB remains committed and resolute in the fight against corruption,” he added.

Singapore’s good standing is also attested to by other global indicators, the CPIB noted.

In the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy’s 2018 Report on Corruption in Asia, Singapore is the least corrupt country in the region, a position it held since 1995, the CPIB pointed out.

Singapore also ranked fourth for absence of corruption in the 2017-2018 Rule of Law Index compiled by the World Justice Project, and is the top Asian nation out of 113 countries, it added.

Lawyer Wilson Ang, a partner with global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, said Singapore’s legal framework plays a role in fighting corruption.

Mr Ang, who heads the firm’s Asia regulatory compliance and investigations practice, highlighted the introduction of the deferred prosecution agreement last year as one example.

Under the agreement, a corporation charged by a prosecutor may have the charge deferred, on condition it agrees to pay a financial penalty and abide by several conditions, including supervision of its practices for a period of time.

Said Mr Ang: “The move signals that Singapore is serious about stamping out corruption. In cases where private sector businesses are making the payment of bribes to government officials, the deferred prosecution agreement targets one-half of the equation, which is the supply side of the bribe.”

On challenges ahead, he said: “The concern  remains that Singapore is in a region rife with corruption. Secondly, Singapore still has ambitions to remain a leading financial centre.

“So those two factors together expose Singapore to various corruption and money laundering risks, which means that we have got to be  more vigilant than ever.”



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Politics

Japan: Koizumi offers no concrete plan on coal

The new environment minister needs to offer better ways to tackle climate change.  During a ministerial meeting of the U.N. climate summit in Madrid on Wednesday, Shinjiro Koizumi, the Environment Minister did not express concrete steps for reducing coal-fired thermal power generation. Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi did not express concrete steps for reducing coal-fired thermal power generation, for which construction of new plants is currently underway in Japan, during a ministerial meeting of the U.N. climate summit in Madrid on Wednesday. “I am afraid I cannot share new development on our coal policy today,” Koizumi said at the ongoing 25th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate


By The Japan News
December 13, 2019

Politics

Power transition after Apec summit

Mahathir open to stepping down after APEC summit. Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the world’s oldest prime minister, has promised to hand over power to anointed successor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in spite of new sexual assault allegations against him. Dr Mahathir, 94, said he would not hand over before a summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) countries that Malaysia is to host in November 2020, but could be ready after that. “I made a promise to hand over and I will, accepting that I thought that a change immediately before the Apec summit would be disruptive. “As far as I’m concerned, I’m stepping down and I’m handing the baton to him (Anwar). If people don’t want him, that is their business, but I will do my part of the promise… irrespective of whatever allegation. I made my promise, I keep my promise, ” he said in an interview w


By The Star
December 11, 2019

Politics

Communist Party of China calls for efforts to deepen reform and expand opening-up

Political Bureau stresses importance of winning three critical battles in 2020. The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee called on Friday for solid efforts to deepen reform and expand opening-up, amid tensions in the external environment, to ensure that the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects will be attained next year. The general trend of China’s economy in maintaining stable and long-term positive operation remains unchanged, according to a statement released after the bureau’s meeting, presided over by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. China will keep its economic growth within a reasonable range in 2020, with more “forwarding-looking, targeted and effective” policies, the statement said. The nation will pursue a policy framework that allows macro policies to be stable, micro policies


By China Daily
December 9, 2019

Politics

Najib to take the stand today

The former premier is accused of malfeasance. Today is the day that Malaysians will see, for the first in the country’s history, a former prime minister take the stand to answer charges against him in a court of law. Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pic), 66, will testify from the witness box as the first defence witness to rebut his seven charges of misappropriating RM42mil in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds before High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali. According to his co-counsel Harvinderjit Singh, Najib will be called as the first witness on the opening day of the defence’s proceedings. Najib will be first questioned by his defence during examination-in-chief before being cross-examined by the prosecution. On Nov 11, Justice Mohd Nazlan ordered Najib to enter his defence on three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT), three charges of money laundering and on


By The Star
December 3, 2019

Politics

New parties face drubbing in by-elections as Nepalis continue to vote along party lines

“They failed to convince the voters as to what they would bring to the table if they were given a chance”. Nepalis once again displayed traditional voting patterns as they continued to choose the established parties—Nepal Communist Party and the Nepali Congress—while casting their ballots in Saturday’s by-election, as they snubbed newer parties like Sajha and Bibeksheel. Despite their untiring efforts, focussing primarily on Kaski Constituency-2 in a bid to get a seat in the federal Parliament, both Sajha and Bibeksheel, cut no ice with voters. Both parties have had to fight hard to even secure their deposits, as candidates must garner at least 10 percent of the total votes cast to get back their deposit; a failure to do so is considered humiliating. By-elections were held on Saturday for 52 positions, including a vacant seat in the House of Representatives, three provincial assembly seats


By The Kathmandu Post
December 2, 2019

Politics

Thousands return to Hong Kong streets in fresh round of protests

Police fire tear gas at those outside of approved route. After a week of relative calm, thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday (Dec 1) chanting slogans such as “revolution of our time” and “liberate Hong Kong”. The protest, which took place in the bustling shopping district of Tsim Tsa Tsui, came after hundreds of people marched to the United States consulate earlier in the day to show “gratitude” for US support for the demonstrations that have roiled the China-ruled financial hub for nearly six months. Waving posters that read “Never forget why you started” and black flags with the logo “Revolution now”, protesters marched past the city’s Kowloon waterfront, home to luxury hotels and shopping malls. Police in riot gear were out in force for the Tsim Sha Tsui march – the third one of the day. The


By The Straits Times
December 2, 2019