KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia needs a leader who is clean and sincere in fighting corruption, says Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Akhbar Satar.
Speaking in his personal capacity at the launch of his book “Rasuah, Jenayah dan Malaysia”‘, Akhbar said according to World Bank data, Malaysia had lost two-to-four per cent of its economic growth due to corruption.
He said when corruption was rampant, investors would shy away from investing in Malaysia. He noted that neighbouring Indonesia and Thailand were now doing well in attracting investors.
He also said, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, Malaysia had dropped four rungs from 50 in 2014 to 54 in 2015.
“We need a leader who is clean and sincere in fighting corruption. Everything is about integrity.”
Akhbar said Malaysia spent a lot of money on battling corruption, but if the issue of integrity could be addressed, then the country need not spend so much money.
“In Sweden and Japan, they focus a lot on integrity, even at the schooling level, because one day, the kids will lead the country.”
Akhbar noted that when it came to integrity, the Westerners had set a good example and quoted renowned Egyptian Islamic scholar Muammad ‘Abduh, who said: “I went to the West and saw Islam, but no Muslims; I got back to the East and saw Muslims but not Islam.”
He also called on the public to give more support to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
In Indonesia, he said, the public would even collect money for the construction of their anti-corruption agency’s building, but in Malaysia, the MACC was constantly being condemned.
Akhbar, who himself served in the anti-graft body for 18 years, said MACC officers were hardworking, but had their own limitations.
Recently, some parties had criticised the appointment of new MACC Chief Commissioner Dzulkifli Ahmad, who was formerly from the Attorney-General’s Chambers, because they felt the outgoing MACC chief Abu Kassim Mohamed’s replacement should have come from within.
Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation chairman Lee Lam Thye, who launched the book, echoed Akhbar’s sentiments on promoting integrity at an early age.
He said integrity needed to be embedded in our culture and proposed that lessons on integrity be given in schools.
On crime, Lee said while no country could fully eradicate crime, what was more important was that the public should develop a zero-tolerance attitude towards crime.