The whispers are being whispered in the corridors of power and some in the civil service are probably checking their front doors and back doors, and maybe their ceilings.
All Datuks and Datuk Seris heading the government departments, local authorities and government-linked companies (GLCs) are sitting on the edge, because half of the country is waiting to find out who exactly is the Datuk and Datuk Seri – two of the three arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday.
It is indeed a tense time, for this is another major blow for the civil service, as it is hit by yet another mother of a scandal at a time when corruption and misuse of power is high on the watchlist of the Malaysian public.
Even if one has done nothing wrong, the entire civil service is stained every time there is a scandal like this. Although corruption is endemic in the civil service, it is always shocking to the public nevertheless.
Nowadays we may talk of billions, not millions being pocketed by the unscrupulous, yet again a civil servant taking RM1million is enough to make us common people to heap scorn on the civil service whom we are forced to trust.
According to The Star, in a swoop over Kuala Lumpur, Kelantan and Melaka, three high-level government officials, including a Datuk and a Datuk Seri have been detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
“The three have been detained for allegedly accepting bribes, misuse of power and being involved in money laundering.
“We also froze their bank accounts purportedly containing more than RM13mil and stocks worth between RM1mil and RM6mil,” said MACC Investigations director Datuk Azam Baki.
“Azam added that RM400,000 in cash was also seized along with some foreign currency and luxury watches.
“We also seized a few luxury cars, including a Maserati, a BMW and an Audi. We believe the vehicles were purchased based on the bribes received,” he said
“Azam said the suspects were senior officers in a government department, local authority and a government-linked company,” reported The Star.
This was made ‘juicier’ by a Malaysiakini report stating that MACC found “stash of money hidden all over the house including in the ceiling”.
“The bulk of the money, said to be some of the RM400,000 recovered, was packed carefully in RM50 and RM100 notes and hidden in the ceiling, as officers from the graft commission inspected the house.
“Sources from the MACC told Malaysiakini the money was retrieved from a state Public Works Department director with the title of a ‘Datuk’,” reported Malaysiakini.
This is not the first and will not be the last of corrupt civil servants which we will hear of, but the public would sure wish that there will be less of them.
Last March, a senior civil servant in a government agency allegedly took RM20 million in kickbacks and was arrested.
MACC then also seized 12 luxury cars and froze 69 bank accounts frozen in what was said to have been a misuse of RM100 million public fund.
The government of the day has much to reel from and it is best they come clean as soon as possible, as much as possible. Even if they are not willing to confess, then they should just turn over everything and start afresh – although it may be a difficult thing to do after living in such luxury.
MACC’s newly minted chief Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad has promised tough action on corruption when he took over and one can safely say that with this case, he is delivering – for now.
Yet, one wonders if these three are only for show to prove to the public that he has not been appointed for nothing – a matter of KPI?
One also wonders if the three are scapegoats, for the trail logically cannot stop at these three alone.
Even if they are scapegoats, it is hoped that the rest of the herd will be bundled in soon enough, and MACC would not be picking and choosing, and letting go of the rest.
The fish usually rots from its head, and those who have been caught were all heads of departments. Perhaps it is time the whole civil service be turned over from the very top itself for a complete check and fried.
Would Dzulkifli dare to or is this mere wishful thinking?