Singapore is global No. 5 and Asian No. 1 on 2023 index of most transparent, least corrupt countries

Singapore merlion
Clean and beautiful: Singapore shines in a region otherwise largely beset by state corruption. Photo courtesy: Instagram/stb_sg

Known for its rule of law and clean governance, the island nation of Singapore has taken the global No. 5 and Asian No. 1 rank on the 2023 index of most transparent, least corrupt countries.

Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2023, published by Transparency International, gave Singapore a transparency score of 83 (compared to global No. 1 Denmark getting a score of 90).

Most of the Top 10 countries in the 2023 rankings of the annual index are European, in particular Scandinavian.

Singapore and the Pacific Ocean nation of New Zealand (global No. 3 with a score of 85) are the only two non-European countries in the Top 10.

Transparency International ranks countries on the basis of “perceived levels of public sector corruption”; the 2023 report has conducted its survey “in 180 countries and territories around the world”.


Elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region, Australia and Hong Kong (administrative territory of China) both scored 75, and Japan followed with a score of 73, all of them making it to the Top 20 of the index.

These four countries and the territory of Hong Kong are bright, clean exceptions in a world region that still has a long way to go in rooting out murky state corruption.

Outside the Top 20, the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan stands out in the Asia Pacific region, with its respectable score of 68 (right behind the United States, which has a score of 69, and the United Kingdom, which has a score of 71).

“Sixty-eight per cent of the countries across Asia and the Pacific have a CPI score below 50. These weak scores reflect the lack of delivery by elected officials on anti-corruption agendas, together with crackdowns on civil society and attacks on freedoms of press, assembly and association,” said the Transparency International report for 2023.

As for Europe, which has 15 countries with a score between 70 and 90 (out of the maximum possible score of 100) on the index, the situation is not as good as it looks at first glance.

The report said: “Despite remaining the top-scoring region in the CPI, robust anti-corruption measures [in Europe] continue to be undermined by the weakening of checks and balances. The erosion of political integrity contributes to diminishing public trust in countries’ ability to tackle the region’s ongoing challenges.”