Hornbill Unleashed

February 28, 2014

Malaysia, we have a problem, a serious graft problem

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
Tags: , , , ,

Cecilia Jeyanthi Victor

None other than Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad himself has conceded that corruption has always been a problem in Malaysia but he also qualified that the menace was under control during his tenure as prime minister.

The other two premiers after Mahathir had never openly admitted that corruption was a problem although Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi saw it fit to establish the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to replace the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) which was perceived as “toothless”. Abdullah’s action did the talking for him about graft in the country.

Indeed, corruption is as strange as it is going to sound and is the “epitome of class” in Malaysia. It is practised from top to bottom in every nook and corner.

Both the giver and taker can be anyone desperate for some enforcement approval and the corrupt. Eradicating corruption is as impossible as weeding out the world’s oldest profession – the flesh trade.

However, it can be managed or controlled if there is a will from the executive who also stands to benefit from corrupt practices.

Corruption exists everywhere and no doubt there is no such thing as a “bribe-free” country but there is a thing called integrity and being strict and committed in bringing those involved in corrupt practices to book.

Unfortunately, seven years after it was established, MACC is just as toothless as its predecessor, the ACA. The commission has failed miserably in the graft fight, as Malaysia is now considered one of the most corrupt in the world.

According to the Asia-Pacific Fraud Survey Report Series 2013, Malaysia alongside China had the highest level of bribery and corruption, but this is not news to Malaysians. It is common knowledge.

The survey polled 681 executives in China, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and South Korea and out of that number many felt that China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam were the most corrupt.

Money politics in the country’s political culture and corruption in the public and private sectors are no longer news.

The very institutions set up to help fight corruption and ensure our public safety are themselves corrupt.

Police, Prisons, Customs, Road Transport are the few government departments notorious for being involved in graft. News of officers from these government institutions being charged in court for corrupt practices are not uncommon.

Even the MACC is not spared. When officers from the very institution charged with tackling corruption are involved in corrupt practices themselves, what can one expect from such a department.

Recently, a senior police officer was charged for illegal money laundering activities after it was discovered that he had more than RM20 million in his bank accounts, money he was unable to account for. Cases of police officers being involved in bribery are only too common.

There was also a recent report of prison wardens asking bribes from relatives of prisoners. For essential items like a bar of soap or a can of tin food, the wardens were asking for several hundred ringgits.

This had probably been going on for years, yet the guards involved were not arrested or charged.

Now, while we all know that corrupt practices are a norm even in jail houses, no one could possibly imagine how bad the situation is behind the four walls.

Resorting to corruption is a way out to help ease the financial burdens of policemen and prison wardens who are not well paid or perhaps they just want to live lavishly. Isn’t it time to get rid of them?

Will there ever be a right timing, when corruption is being practiced from top to bottom.

What then are watchdog bodies formed to fight corruption such as the MACC, political disciplinary committees, civil societies and the legal forces doing to stamp out corruption?

As much as they are trying their best, it is still not enough. They must do more or the public will continue to lose faith in them.

How could MACC chief Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed claim that Malaysia surpassed Hong Kong in its fight against graft based on its higher conviction rate in corruption-related arrests when the survey conducted by the Asia-Pacific Fraud Survey Report Series 2013 suggest we were one of the most corrupt countries in the world?



    Comment by Geronimo Miller — February 28, 2014 @ 11:09 AM | Reply

  2. It was shown in TV2 that DPM of Malaysia declared all out war against profiteering by traders. It seemed that Malaysia politicians are fond of making rhetoric whenever opportunity arise for the purpose of achieving political mileage. Price hike is not directly due to trading transactions. He can fool people on the street. Price hike can be attributed to imported goods that are costly to import due to weak foreign exchange. Local goods produced by manufacturers and food producers range from diary to vegetables farmer are also affected. The simple arithmetic is eliminating all form of corruptions and put more money into the economy to localize food production. Open up more land instead of giving them to cronies.invest more fund into agriculture research instead of giving fund to corrupted associates and emphasized on other avenues to increase food production.

    Comment by loyarburok — February 28, 2014 @ 10:53 AM | Reply

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