Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Absolute Power, Absolute Venality: The Politics of Corruption and Anti-corruption in Malaysia
Contributor(s): Siddiquee, Noore Alam (author); Zafarullah, Habib  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2022
Early Online Version: 2020-10-19
DOI: 10.1080/10999922.2020.1830541
Handle Link:
Abstract: Although corruption in Malaysia is nothing new, it has exacerbated in recent years as reflected in the deteriorating corruption perceptions index and a series of large-scale corruption scandals that have made headlines around the world. Lately, corruption has become so endemic and widespread that Malaysia has earned the dubious distinction of a kleptocracy, notwithstanding ongoing anti-corruption campaigns. This paper examines and analyses Malaysia’s anti-corruption experience and the factors that explain it. Drawing on data from both primary and secondary sources it argues that anti-corruption drives have remained narrowly-focused, ignoring some critical aspects of Malaysia’s political economy including the politics-business nexus, patronage networks and money politics which are at the heart of grand corruption. It further argues that much of the high-level corruption has its roots in politics and that the powerful political figures have remained largely untouched by anti-corruption drives. Finally, it reveals that despite institutional revamp, key institutions continue to suffer from a lack of independence and effective power. Such constraints, reinforced further by political manipulation and selective application of laws, have undermined the effectiveness of anti-corruption initiatives. The Malaysian experience offers lessons and insights that have wider relevance.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Public Integrity, 24(1), p. 1-17
Publisher: Routledge
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1558-0989
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 169903 Studies of Asian Society
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 449901 Studies of Asian society
440807 Government and politics of Asia and the Pacific
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 130304 Social ethics
230299 Government and politics not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Files in This Item:
3 files
File Description SizeFormat 
Show full item record


checked on Jun 15, 2024

Page view(s)

checked on May 7, 2023


checked on May 7, 2023
Google Media

Google ScholarTM



This item is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons