Cambodia continued to rank lowest compared to other Southeast Asia countries, according to a corruption index released by Transparency International on Thursday, ranking at 162 of 180 countries.
The corruption index, now in its 25th year, have frequently shown that Cambodia continues to remain plagued with corruption, ranking close to countries, like Iraq, Zimbabwe and Libya. The next best Southeast Asian nation is Myanmar at 130.
“In addition, low performers like Afghanistan, which received 16 scores, North Korea, which received 17 scores, and Cambodia, which received 20, continue to highlight serious challenges in the region,” reads the report.
Cambodia was clubbed with China and Vietnam, both major allies of the Kingdom, as countries that have continued to curtail public participation and keep public policy decision-making shrouded in secrecy, the report reads.
“Many countries see economic openness as a way forward, however, governments across the region, from China to Cambodia to Vietnam, continue to restrict participation in public affairs, silence dissenting voices and keep decision-making out of public scrutiny,” the report reads.
The countries that have performed well in fighting corruption in Asia Pacific, include New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, and Japan, which obtained 87, 85, 77, 76, and 73 scores, respectively. Cambodia scored a 20 in the index. A zero score reflects “most corrupted,” whereas a score of 100 reflects a “clean” state.
Meas Ny, social researcher and political analyst, said that Cambodia’s issues with corruption were making it a less attractive destination for investment, especially the lack of an independent judiciary.
“[F]or the long-term investors who got a lot of money, they would need to think deeply for many times before they decided to come in that country,” he said.
VOA Khmer could not reach Anti-Corruption Unit President Om Yentieng, government spokesperson Phay Siphan and Justice Ministry spokesperson Chin Malin for comment on Friday.