The country’s improvement in global anti-graft rankings is an indication that the government’s efforts to stamp out corruption are working.
This is proven by Malaysia moving up 10 places in the Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index 2019. With a score of 53 points, Malaysia is now ranked 51 out of 180 countries surveyed by the international graft watchdog. This is now seen as a promising development for the country.
The higher score in the 2019 index was due to the change in government and the new government’s commitment in its fight against corruption.
The National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) 2019-2023 launched last year has also proven to be positive, as the public is now more aware that corruption is a major obstacle that could fetter the country’s development.
The nation, ostensibly, is heading in the right direction under the new government. Putrajaya’s relentless efforts to combat graft has been rewarded. The emphasis on good governance is among the reasons for this achievement.
Kudos to the government for the fast action taken in handling high profile cases such as 1MDB, SRC International, Felda and the arrest of several political figures over alleged involvement in corrupt practices and money laundering activities.
However, still, a lot more has to be done to address the threat of corruption in the country.
Adopting greater transparency
There have to be more innovative measures to address this menace such as adopting greater transparency in governance at all levels and giving protection to whistleblowers among the stakeholders.
The fear that there will be a backlash should not be an issue if complaints are immediately lodged against some of the dodgy characters. Society also needs more informants or whistleblowers who can help the authorities curb this scourge.
Corruption in any form is against the edicts of all major religions. In any society, there can be many undesirable factors that can warp the true passion of patriotism and this includes corruption.
Honesty is society’s strongest weapon against graft and hence a quality that people, especially politicians and those in power should possess to tag themselves as patriotic.
With good values practised by citizens, the country will be less burdened with some of the problems modern societies are facing – greed and dishonesty that can lead to mismanagement, rampant bribery, crimes and squalor.
When a society has limited accountability and when personal interest is put ahead, corruption will begin to rear its ugly head. This will, in turn, weigh down a country’s progress. Our country cannot afford for corruption to spiral if it desires to achieve developed status.
In some countries, many investors have stayed away due to corruption, crime rates have increased and the people have resorted to giving bribes to get things accomplished to the detriment of social well-being. There has been an increase in smuggling activities, drug trafficking and the influx of illegals into the country. The wrongdoers, regrettably, can easily get off the hook by resorting to bribery.
In fact, corruption at any level in society will help encourage unlawful activities. History has proven that many countries have been ruined and the system of government drastically changed just because the people and the authorities are corrupted to the core.
When this happens nothing civil can be done anymore to resolve the problem. The people will begin to look for unconventional means to survive, such as resorting to threats and crime and this is going to be dreadful for a democratic country.
Corruption is a symptom of deep problems in a society that could cause many conflicts and indirectly but ultimately degrade the whole society morally. Closing our eyes to corruption will cause it to spiral and become a more rampant practice in our society.
Society has to learn to turn its back on corruption – if they truly understand the meaning of self-rule or independence – before it becomes a social menace that will ruin the fabric of the nation as has happened before in many countries.
The people should try hard to say no to bribery even if this is going to cause them some hardship. There are those who resort to bribery to get what they want from an authority such as a government project, to get things through at the customs or perhaps when stopped by the police for a traffic offence. If they are harassed by officers asking for bribes, they should be brave enough not to succumb.
When justice prevails in civil society, rest assured the government will get overwhelming support from the majority of its people.
The government, on its part, should play its role without fear or favour in fighting corruption before it becomes a cancerous phenomenon in our society. To work towards eradicating corruption is patriotism. The country’s wellbeing can be assured only when both its people and leaders are all up in arms over corruption.
As for the country’s law to combat corrupt practices, there must be effective judiciary reforms that will ensure cases involving graft do not take too long to be resolved in courts.
There has to be a special court to handle all graft cases and the processes and procedures must be fast-tracked so as not to waste the court’s time and taxpayer’s money. The existing laws should be amended to ensure that the punishment for both givers and takers in corruption is severe enough to deter them from indulging in such immoral activity.
Moaz Nair is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.