War on corruption

— Lim Sue Goan
The Malaysian Insider
Oct 09, 2012

OCT 9 — Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin believes that Malaysia will be successful in its war on corruption. This is an over-optimistic view.

The government seems to have strengthened its efforts in fighting corruption, including enforcing the Whistleblower Protection Act, establishing special corruption courts, listing those who have been successfully prosecuted for corruption offences on the MACC website, making public the bidding results of government projects, reducing business licences, and 128 corporates have signed the Corporate Integrity Pledge (CIP) to prevent corrupt practices in their companies. However, corruption remains serious, as the government has neglected loopholes in the law that have enabled corrupt practices among senior officials. There is no mandate requiring that senior officials declare their assets and the anti-corruption movement lacks credibility.

The impression of the general public on anti-corruption is, only small fish are convicted and even if the big ones are caught and charged, they would be released as senior officials involved in corruption know how to make themselves “innocent”.

MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Mohd Shukri Abdull pointed out a few days ago that, under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009, it is difficult to charge a decision making officer for corruption if there is no evidence showing him or her to have awarded government project contracts with interest conflicts.

It is why those who have awarded government contracts to their husbands or sons can evade getting caught. It is not necessary for the decision-making officer to attend the meeting when the decision is made, as other attendees would know what to do to impress him or her.

Not only subordinates and colleagues, but business operators also try to please officers who are high in ranking. Therefore, mentri besar can use their status to buy cheap land, houses or cars.

It is indeed hard to find evidence showing one has used his or her power to gain profits. For example, if some government agencies take the initiative to provide manpower and other resources to help the son of a senior official hold a wedding party, can we call it a corruption practice?

Shukri said that the MACC has charged many public officials under Section 23, but the loophole has enabled many big fish to get away. However, the government cannot just leave it and do nothing. Former Deputy Commissioner of Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Daniel Li Ming-chak suggested at the 6th Annual Conference and General Meeting of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) that Malaysia could consider charging crooked public officials for public misconduct, when corruption is difficult to prove.

If the government continues to tolerate such power abuse practices among public officials, it is very likely to lead to habitual organised and crony corruption, and eventually becomes a malignant tumour difficult to eradicate in the administrative system.

In addition, whether there is a mandate requiring senior officials to declare their assets will be enough to affect the outside world’s judgement upon the government’s anti-corruption determination. No asset declaration means the lack of transparency, and it allows senior officials to play tricks behind the scene.

If the MACC lacks manpower to watch over public officials, members of the public can assist the law enforcement units through the asset declaration system.

Under the existing laws, it is helpless even if the people know that children of a high-ranked official are keeping hundreds of millions ringgit in their bank accounts.

To win the war on corruption, members of the society of all levels must work together. When the people doubt the government’s corruption eradication commitment, they would not take initiative to report and stay away from corruption, while those practising corruption would not believe that they would be caught.

How could we say that we will definitely win the war on corruption when the credibility of the anti-corruption movement is low? — MySinchew.com

  1. #1 by monsterball on Tuesday, 9 October 2012 - 9:09 pm

    We have powerful whistle blowers like Balan and SUARAM and look what happened.
    Whistle blowers must have evidence to support the Government…and not against it.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 9 October 2012 - 9:45 pm

    ///However, corruption remains serious, as the government has neglected loopholes in the law that have enabled corrupt practices among senior officials.///

    The loopholes were deliberately created to enable corrupt practices among senior officials. If the government is really serious about eradicating corruption, it would do everything possible to make the anti-corruption system foolproof and infallible.

  3. #3 by monsterball on Tuesday, 9 October 2012 - 10:05 pm

    Mahathir said Ling Liong Sik is incapable to cheat…case closed….defense lawyers will ask the Judge to free LLS ….no case….that is…if the Judge believe Mahathir is almighty and truthful.
    Then reporters asked Mahathir many questions…and Mahathir said….since he is being labelled as senile….no answers given!!
    Mahathir twisting like a snake …as energetic as ever.

  4. #4 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 - 1:26 am

    Suddenly MMK remembered details n facts! Hallelujah! Praise d Lord! He had spoken n his darling ling wants his charges reviewed, eazi sajaaaaaaa

  5. #5 by monsterball on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 - 5:37 am

    This sickening old baloney is a curse to Malaysia.

  6. #6 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 - 8:47 am

    What? Prosecution’s witness said “no deception”? If there was none then the prosecution must be malicious!

    “Satu Umno Style.”

  7. #7 by SENGLANG on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 - 9:04 am

    Quote”If the government continues to tolerate such power abuse practices among public officials, it is very likely to lead to habitual organised and crony corruption, and eventually becomes a malignant tumour difficult to eradicate in the administrative system.”Unquote

    I bet to differ on the above statement. It was not likely but it is what is the state of affair in Malaysia now. Just read the Citizen Nades’s column in The Sun today, how those responsible in the Sport ministry altitude on the 3.8m written off just like that. It end up in non other than the people who trusted with the taxpayer money. There are endless lists of such abuses happening and none seem to have any action taken against those who is responsible.

    So this is habitual and seem to be perfectly ok to those who landed and trusted with government grant, soft loan etc to use it for their personal benefits.

    The authority can be very efficient when they want to, they can even summon the dead if they want too. But come to these clear case of abuses they seem to turn sudden deaf and blind.

    The common people like us will never never believe what BN will have to say. It’s all bluffing

  8. #8 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 - 10:33 am

    Najib is simply wrong intellectually about corruption. You don’t do these things without catharticism.

    The fight to corruption is analogous to American football. If you keep losing games week after week running the ball, you are not going to win games by just playing a better running game and a couple of new players. The best you do is just get more yards maybe a few more points at best but you don’t win the game. You need to change the game, you need to change the team in fact the franchise itself starting with the franchise players.

    Corruption in this country, historically was confined to the elites – the common people were pre-occupied with their simple lives that did not require much rules and regulations. That it corruption is now cultural in our country and society is a failure of leadership and elitism. Singapore recognised it from the start and the difference in their achievement is what is the difference of corruption – and yes NEP is a corruption, it was suppose to be affirmative action of limited period even supposedly without quotas initially promised which is now an entitlement that is hard to shake but has spread such that people feel entitled to RM500 handouts and RM200 rebates on smartphones.

  9. #9 by waterfrontcoolie on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 - 12:36 pm

    Malaysia WILL NEVER solve the corruption issue because there is no issue to solve! It has become part of the income of those who lead or those who can cling to these leaders. We might as well proclaim that by our Boleh Definition, Corruption does not exist in this nation; because it has been part of our life or at least among the political leadership. Indeed, we should just abolish MACC! Here PM and Ministers all all supermen, they are above judges. See what the Mamak’s verdict on PKFZ. “There is nothing to answer, no one asked me, I would have told the police that there is no case to answer”. How arrogant can that be! The nation was cheated of billions, and the Cheats declared nothing wrong had happened! Malaysians Oh! Malaysians. you deserved such leadership; as they say: you reap what you have planted! You get what you have voted! Have a nice day! Dear Malaysians!

  10. #10 by undertaker888 on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 - 1:08 pm

    corruption is a lucrative business in malaysia especially for those without backbones. without this business do you think the govt can function?

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