Mahathir worried over culture of corruption

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has voiced concern over the corrupt practices which he says are becoming increasingly common among the people, to the point that they are willing to ignore the negative impact such actions would have on the country.

He said this could be described as “memperasuahan”, or inculcating bad habits among the people so that it becomes part of their culture.

“I don’t know whether the word ‘memperasuahan’ exists in the Malay vocabulary, but whether it exists or not, the act of inculcating corrupt practices is often carried out in society.

“The society that accepts this culture no longer feels shy or embarrassed about giving or accepting bribes, which are sometimes referred to as ‘tumbuk rusa’ or ‘makan suap’,” he said in a blog post last night.

He said the public generally considered corruption as a bad practice, but that those who were corrupt would hide it as they knew it was against both the law and religion.

During the reign of “cash is king”, he said, the practice of giving and accepting bribes became a part of culture, especially among the Malays.

“They are willing to do anything if they are bribed with enough money, or the gift of interest. Whether it is good or bad is not part of considerations.

“The fact that it is against the law, and even considered a sin in terms of religion, is not taken into account. The priority is satisfying their greed.”

Even though people realise that bribery was bad, he added, the recipients would not take long to accept it.

“Whether it is good or bad, bribery feeds greed and is believed to be profitable. The negative effects on society are trivialised.

“Certainly, a sense of national pride and the impact (of the habit) on society and the country are trivialised by those corrupt individuals,” he said.