Pledges that are worth nothing

bribeBy Ravinder Singh

Are pledges against corruption worth the paper they’re written on? The latest to sign such a pledge are Felda officers.

Before he left as MACC chief, Abu Kassim Mohamed labelled corrupt officials as “stupid” and with his next breath said that stupidity was not an offence and those officers could not, therefore, be taken to court.

Was he condoning the theft of public funds?

Whatever his reason for making light of the scourge upon our society, MACC appears today to be actively fighting corruption, even investigating people who have acquired wealth in a short time. It’s yet to be seen how many will actually be convicted and punished. This we will know only after GE14.

When members of the public highlight such issues as non-action against breaches of, for instance, the building by-laws, the first thing the MACC asks is whether anyone has seen any money changing hands. It seems that if there’s no evidence of money being asked for or given, then the case does not fall within the meaning of corruption.

So people will happily sign anti-corruption pledges knowing that their corrupt actions will, at worst, be called “stupid”.

There’s no need to fool the public with these gimmicks. The best way to fight corruption is to sack the stupid people and put them behind bars. In China, they would have to face a firing squad. But Idris Jala, CEO of Pemnadu, says the government does not sack its employees. Oops! They are a vote bank.

One MACC officer once proposed creating a corruption free system by having wall clocks with anti-corruption messages. His logic is that every time someone looks at the clock, his conscience is pricked. He forgot to consider the possibility that corrupt officials don’t have a conscience.

Apparently, school children are now being bribed to attend school regularly. There is a lot of euphoria about good attendance at Batu Pahat’s SMK Senggarang because the school gives away motorcycles and other gifts to pupils who record 100% attendance.

Well, that’s very good anti-corruption education indeed. Teach the young that you do your normal duties only when there is a reward for doing so. They will carry this attitude into their adult life. Meanwhile, we can continue dreaming of developing into a corruption-free society.

Ravinder Singh is an FMT reader.

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