Combating corruption has increasing risen to the top of policymakers and company agendas. Despite the fact that it has long been a prevalent issue, there is a greater awareness of the negative implications of corruption on both social and economic development. Malaysia has a history of implementing measures to tackle corruption and bribery, with cases occurring for the past four decades and no indication of it slowing. Cases such as the Sabah Water Department, 1MDB, Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) and Immigration Department Scandal in 2018 illustrate how corruption and bribery are embedded within Malaysia’s political and government institutions. As such, efforts must be made to tackle it effectively, with evidence suggesting that the increasing number of agencies which aim to do so are failing. However, the adoption of newly devised measures such as the introduction of corporate liability for corruption offences coming into effect in June could be a turning point for tackling corruption and bribery within Malaysia.
Increased efforts have been made to combat corruption, both nationally, regionally and globally due to the growing concern regarding its increasing incidence and negative implications. As a result of the extensive nature of corruption and bribery, the World Bank once identified it as one of the key barriers to social and economic development. Corruption is regarded as a complex, multifaceted phenomenon. Nevertheless, it is widely defined as the abuse of public power and violation of rules for private gains. Whilst there is a perception that it is carried out primarily by government officials, this issue can take place across a range of sectors and be executed by those other than government officials. Forms of corruption which take place include bribery, extortion, fraud, embezzlement, blackmail, illegal gambling, laundering and nepotism, all in which encompass the abuse and misuse of public power and authority. This includes public officials taking or offering bribes through money or service which is dishonest. Subsequently, it is often the abuse of trusted power for the benefit of personal gain. It is considered as a consequence of poor governance and undermines the legitimacy of the state.