Myanmar has fallen 17 places in Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perceptions Index, supplanting Cambodia as Southeast Asia’s worst country for graft for the first time in a decade.
The junta-led nation is now ahead of only North Korea in Asia for clean government. Singapore, despite a fall of one place, remains the cleanest jurisdiction in the region – at 5th of the 180 included – ahead of both Hong Kong and Japan (steady at 12th and 18th).
Vietnam, meanwhile, rose 10 places to 77th, putting it in the vicinity of emerging and middle world powers like Saudi Arabia (54th), South Africa (72nd) and India (85th).
Transparency International’s 2022 graft index, released Tuesday, tracks perceptions of “public sector corruption” around the world, using diverse data from businesspeople, experts and “reputable institutions” like the World Bank and World Economic Forum.
The best performing jurisdictions last year were once again Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, according to the index, while the worst was Somalia, followed by South Sudan and Syria. The United States came in at 24th, just behind the Seychelles, Austria and France.
Taiwan (25th) and South Korea (up one place to 31st) round out Asia’s other good performers.
Lower down the list are Malaysia (down one to 61st) and China (down one to 65th). Closer to the bottom are Indonesia (down 14 to 110th), Laos (up two to 126th), Cambodia (up seven to 150th), Myanmar (down 17 to 150th) and North Korea (up three to 171st of 180).
It’s the first time Myanmar has fallen below Cambodia since 2012, the year of the country’s first round of limited free parliamentary elections after decades of military rule, amid the thaw of relations with Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. It’s also a fall of 20 places since Myanmar came in at 130th place in 2019.
“While every country faces different corruption challenges, this year’s index reveals ongoing stagnation around the world,” notes Transparency International in a report accompanying the index,
The Berlin-based organization notes that “basic freedoms” key to clean government have been under particular attack across the Americas, Europe and Africa in the past few years, as “multiple crises threaten security and stability, democracy and human rights”
“Similarly, in various Asia Pacific countries, rising authoritarianism dilutes civil society’s function as a watchdog, while many leaders are prioritising economic recovery over anti-corruption efforts,” it says.
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