KUALA LUMPUR: Those who are corrupt and try to “whitewash” or excuse the practice are nothing but criminals, former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said in his latest blog posting.
“They know that corruption is wrong, and that even religion prohibits it, but they continue to whitewash the practice.
“By making it seem as if corruption was halal (permitted), others are persuaded to accept bribes.”
Mahathir lamented in his Aidilftri message on his blog, that it was no secret Muslims in Malaysia are among some of the most corrupt.
“The practice of looking down on corruption does not exist among Muslims in Malaysia.”
Mahathir added that those who are in the wrong, having committed corrupt acts, may not be brought to justice in this world because “the perpetrators themselves are responsible for enforcing the law”.
If those responsible for enforcement of anti-corruption laws themselves are corrupt, then any such law would not have meaning, Mahathir said.
“It’s even worse when the anti-corruption laws are used for other purposes, for politics, for example.”
“There’s action taken when the corruption involves a mere million but nothing is done if it involves billions. It’s halal (permitted).”
The hope of the people that the law will prevent corruption may not be realised fully, cautioned the former Prime Minister.
“The law, for example, criminalises theft and can reduce such incidents but cannot stamp them out altogether.
“It’s wrong not only in law but also in religion not to prosecute those who have done wrong.
“This multiplies the gravity of the criminal actions and the sins committed. Giving bribes and accepting them are already two crimes committed,” Mahathir said.
He added that if the source of the bribes given was corruption, then those who are party to these illegalities have sinned three times over.
“In Islam, we are given the right to repent but that’s only acceptable to Allah if we don’t repeat the wrongs done earlier. Those who hope to collect bribes in the future, during elections as well, must keep the message of the Quran on repentance in mind.”
The bottomline, he added, was that the rejection of corruption must be a culture, a value, and only this can help reduce corruption.
“It’s true that corruption exists everywhere. However, it can be reduced and even eliminated if a people frown on such acts and reject them altogether.”
It all begins at the top, Mahathir said. He called on leaders to set a good example to the people and get educationists to drill into students, from nursery to university, the importance of rejecting corruption.
He wanted to stress that Malaysia was headed towards destruction, owing to corruption being widespread and the practice being used to control everything.
He cited the recent by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar as examples of widespread corrupt practices taking place in public. Many voters, he alleged, were given cash, bags of rice and electrical equipment.
“They know that they are being bribed and those feeding them also know that they are doing something wrong in the eyes of the law and religion.
“Because of corruption, those who gave out the bribes won the elections.”
The electoral victories, he continued were not legitimate. “It’s not halal.”
“It’s like trying to use or eat stolen goods.”
The former prime minister also spoke of how corruption destroyed societies, oppressed the poor as well as hindered development, progress and prosperity.