Macau’s ranking on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index
has continued to drop since 2006, but a local scholar and lawmaker both agree
that corruption in the territory has not necessarily worsened.
Eilo Yu Wing
Yat, a public administration professor from the University of Macau, told the
Macau Daily Times yesterday that he believed Macau’s ranking has been lowered
because local enterprises’ understanding of the situation has changed.
2010 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) ranked Macau 46th among 178 countries in
the world, and 10th among 33 countries and regions of Asia Pacific. The ranking
has dropped 17 places since 2006, the first year it appeared in the report.
The non-governmental organisation also gave an average score to Macau – 5.0
on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean), down by 0.3 points
compared to 2009.
“In 2006 there were a lot of business opportunities in
Macau and therefore enterprises had higher confidence in everything and also
higher evaluation on the Government’s transparency and openness,” Yu
The scholar said that it is not necessarily that corruption in Macau
has become more prominent, but rather that businesspeople have understood more
about the Government’s transparency level and hence become more aware of the
“Superficially, I don’t see that the corruption situation has got
more serious,” he said, although he agreed that the index can somehow reflect
“part of the reality”.
Nevertheless, Yu stressed that with or without this
report the Government still has the responsibility to improve the situation in
“The creation of a ‘sunshine government’ didn’t bring a big
improvement, and the spokesperson system is regarded by the media as
ineffective,” he said.
The scholar referred to the recent permanent cemetery
scandal, where the administration seems to have lost the related internal
documents which he said was an example “completely opposite to the ‘sunshine
“If the Government can’t handle documents properly,
how can the public trust the ‘sunshine government’? In this stage [the
Government] can’t even do just the basic things well,” Yu told MDT.
defense of the Government, Chief Executive-appointed lawmaker Tong Io Cheng says
that except the Ao Man Long graft scandal, there has been no other case that has
affected Macau’s image in recent years.
Tong declined to comment further on
the index as he said he hadn’t studied the report yet.
In response to the
bribery accusations made by different grassroots associations, the lawmaker
stressed that he doesn’t want to comment on “conjectures or subjective
judgements without any evidence”.
He also said that the creation of a “sunshine government” has to be done
step-by-step, adding that various public departments are already working based
on this principle.
According to lawyer João Miguel Barros, it is hard to make
comments on the report since it does not say clearly what the factors were
behind Macau’s ranking.
However, he does not regard the results as a
surprise, adding that Macau still has “a long way to go” in terms of reducing
“There is the confidence that [the Government] has already done
enough to reduce bureaucracy, but in practice people still run into problems.
There is a need to prevent corruption and create a set of best practices in the
administration,” he said.
“Prevention work does not belong only to the
Commission against Corruption (CCAC), but we need to simplify administrative
procedures. No wonder they [Transparency International] have come to this
Barros has been one of the most vocal critics of CCAC’s work.
The lawyer has sent a number of letters to the Government, the Legislative
Assembly and international bodies complaining about the graft
lawmaker Au Kam San told MDT that he did not think the index is reliable enough,
as he believed that most of the international rankings are based on information
provided by governments from different countries and regions.
that no improvement has been seen since the Ao Man Long case was exposed a few
Without an effective Land Law, urban planning legislation and a
public revenue monitoring system, Au said the “loophole” will continue to exist
and the problem can never be solved.
“The key is to prevent corruption so
that officials do not dare to and also are unable to be
Transparency International defines corruption as the abuse of
entrusted power for private gain. This definition encompasses corrupt practices
in both the public and private sectors.
In its latest report, Transparency
International acknowledges “corruption remains an obstacle to achieving much
needed progress”, especially with governments committing huge sums to tackle the
world’s most pressing problems, from the instability of financial markets to
climate change and poverty.
The 2010 CPI shows that nearly three quarters of
the 178 countries in the index score below five, which “indicate a serious
“Transparency International advocates stricter
implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption, the only global
initiative that provides a framework for putting an end to corruption,” it
stressed in the report.
The message is clear: “Across the globe, transparency
and accountability are critical to restoring trust and turning back the tide of
corruption. Without them, global policy solutions to many global crises are at