Singapore no longer top of least-corrupt countries

Singapore is no longer the leading country for the least-corrupt nations in the world.

It fell four positions to become the fifth least-corrupt nation in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index.

The Index is released annually by non-governmental corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI).

Singapore's score of 9.2 points out of a possible 10 still makes it the least corrupt in Asia.

The index ranked 183 countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. Scores between one and 10 are also assigned to countries, one being highly corrupt and 10 being least-corrupt.

Singapore shared the top spot with Denmark and New Zealand last year, each with 9.3 points.

Analysts interviewed by The Straits Times said that despite the dip in score, Singapore's reputation for a clean government remains intact.

Mr Liao Ran, who oversees TI's rankings for East Asia, told the national daily that the 0.1 dip is hardly significant.

He said that it could have been caused by slight changes to how the surveys were conducted or by differences in how Singapore fared in a few polls out of the 17 business and expert surveys that TI used for its rankings

He pointed out that a significant drop would be of about 0.3 point or more.

New Zealand, with a score of 9.5, topped this year's list while Denmark and Finland tied for second place, each with a score of 9.4.

Sweden ranked just above Singapore with 9.3 points.

dassa@sph.com.sg