BRUNEI Darussalam has improved its score from 55 in 2013 to 60 in the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index. The score of 0 is highly corrupt and 100 very clean.
Among Asean nations, Brunei stands second behind nearly squeaky clean Singapore at seven.
More than two thirds of the 175 surveyed countries scored below 50.
In the data released by Transparency International on Wednesday, Denmark continued to lead with a score of 92 while Somalia and North Korea tied at the other end of the scale at 174th, with a score of eight.
The biggest falls were Turkey (-5), Angola, China, Malawi and Rwanda (all -4) while the biggest improvers were Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (+5), Afghanistan, Jordan, Mali and Swaziland (+4).
“The 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index shows that economic growth is undermined and efforts to stop corruption fade when leaders and high level officials abuse power to appropriate public funds for personal gain,” said José Ugaz, the chair of Transparency International.
Of 28 countries in Asia-Pacific, which account for 61 per cent of the world’s population, 18 scored less than 40 out of 100.
China has shown a downward trend in the index (with a score of 36) in comparison to last year (40).
Together with India (38) and China (36), the poor scores of other emerging markets in the region — such as Malaysia (52), Philippines and Thailand (both 38) and Indonesia (34) — indicate a general weak or ineffective leadership to counter corruption, posing threats for both sustainability of their economies and somewhat fragile democracies.