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Survey Finds Southeast Asia Still Struggling With Corruption

  • Three of region's nations rank among bottom 30 in world
  • Malaysia and Philippines both seen as sliding in graft fight

Three Southeast Asian nations -- Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar -- rank among the 30 most corrupt countries in the world, while one -- Singapore -- is among the 10 least corrupt, according to Transparency International’s annual survey.

Two Southeast Asian countries -- Malaysia and the Philippines -- were seen as becoming more corrupt last year, while the others all improved or remained the same, according to the Corruption Perception Index released Wednesday.

"If there was one common challenge to unite the Asia-Pacific region, it would be corruption," Srirak Plipat, Transparency International’s regional director, said in a statement. "From campaign pledges to media coverage to civil society forums, corruption dominates discussion. Yet despite all this talk, there’s little sign of action."

The index tracks perceptions of public sector corruption in 168 nations and the watchdog says it’s calculated based on expert opinions. Each nation is assigned a score in which less corruption gets a higher number. This year’s survey puts Denmark on top with a score of 91 and North Korea and Somalia at the bottom, each with eight.

The top scoring Southeast Asia nation is Singapore, coming in at 85, which ranked the island the eighth least-corrupt nation in the world. It scored 84 the year before.

The others are:

  • Malaysia fell to 50 points from 52, placing it 54th globally
  • Thailand unchanged at 38, or 76th
  • Indonesia improved to 36 from 34, and 88th place
  • Philippines fell to 35 from 38, with a global rank of 95
  • Vietnam was unchanged at 31, good for 112th place
  • Laos was unchanged at 25, and 139th globally
  • Myanmar improved to 22 from 21, good for 147th place
  • Cambodia was unchanged at 21, or 150th

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