Honourable Justice KG Balakrishnan said: “The pervasive culture of graft provokes pessimism about the quality of governance” and turns every social institution upside down. There is no doubt that corruption causes massive human deprivations and creates income inequalities and forms webs of illegal obligations and impedes protection and promotion of human rights and ultimately violates a very wide spectrum of human rights deeply.
While we realise that corruption destroys nation building, there is continued effort in Malaysia to be lenient when probing powerful and influential politicians. Additionally, weakness in leadership skills, absence of clear ethical guidance and the absence of severe punitive measures appears to encourage the commission of corruption.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said: “The Government will never tolerate corruption and will not accept any slackening in the public sector”. He further stated that “some officers have not lived up to the high standards which people expect of public servants”.
He added: “Anyone who breaks the rules will be caught and punished. No cover-ups will be allowed, no matter how senior the officer or how embarrassing it may be. It’s far better to suffer the embarrassment and keep the system clean for the long term than to pretend that nothing has gone wrong and let the rot spread he said”.
Lee Kuan Yew on the other hand had this to say: “We have succeeded in keeping Singapore clean and corruption free. This requires strong political will, constant vigilance and relentless efforts by CPIB to follow up every complaint and every clue of wrong doing. The latest cases are new forms of corruption, with sex being exchanged for favourable outcomes. There is no end to human ingenuity”.
According to Shri Prithviraj Charan, Union Minister of State Personal and Public Grievances, Republic of India, “what is needed is an effective preventive strategy …”.
This can only be created and achieved here if there were strong political will and at the moment except for the constant lip service a tactic employed desperately to garner political support and to enhance popularity there is no genuine and sincere aggressive steps undertaken.
No transformation process can be successful or would be effective unless we have a free, open and independent media and the present political system should continuously be reviewed to provide good governance.
And radical changes must be welcomed to establish a transparent and accountable governance in Malaysia. Merely advocating transparent policies, uniting the people to ensure peace and harmony would not suffice. This in essence are mere political slogans which do not possess long term effects.
It must be remembered according to the World Bank studies that “corruption adversely affects the public sector productivity and distributive justice and corruption also increases income inequality, weakens governance and completely reduces citizens trust in effectiveness of their governance”.
While corruption and corruption related scandals are nothing new in Malaysia, we as Malaysians must never remain silent nor should condone such deplorable and shameful practices that ultimately destroys the social fabric of our civil society.
We must not forget corruption and corrupt practices affects substantially the security and economy of the nation. Further it affects the reputation of the country in the eyes of the world.
It is my considered view that more has to be done to curb corruption in public life and we must always endeavor to establish a corruption free civil service and political leadership and the need to maintain a justice system that is incorruptible.
Remember, corruption and corrupt practices are a disease that seriously affects the peripheral arteries of our democratic process and unless controlled it is capable of permanently disabling the central nerves system of our peculiar democracy.