The existence of the meat cartels, along with the exposé about questionable meat being sold in Malaysia through those cartels, points to long entrenched corruption involving several government agencies in collusion with businesses.
It is a jarring indication of just how deep corruption among the few can severely affect the lives, consumption of food and religious beliefs of millions of people.
With confirmation from former deputy agriculture minister Tajuddin Abdul Rahman that the meat cartels do in fact exist, the question of why it took this long for the cartels to be exposed bears asking, especially when the corrupt acts in allowing questionable meat to be sold for public consumption has caused severe distress and potentially poor health among the people.
How was it that former Prime Minister Najib Razak had denied any knowledge of this during his tenure as prime minister? Why are Malaysians fed with half-truths yet again? It is time to call out those involved, especially the agencies and government officials involved.
This is yet another example of how corruption can have a deep-rooted impact on the lives of the people. It was only now exposed that there were questionable meats, but Tajuddin confirmed that the cartels have been in place for a long time.
Furthermore, the cartels also operate across national borders, highlighting yet again that corruption is no longer the problem of a single nation. Crimes committed are also no longer restricted by the borders of a country, thus requiring further cooperation among nations in rooting out corrupt practices, as well as establishing good governance and transparency across international processes.
The revelation of the cartels also means that the government has been aware of the existence of their existence for quite some time, so why was the monopoly on meat tolerated by the administration of the day?
Of course, while a monopoly does not necessarily mean corruption is taking place, transparency in the matter would clear up doubts while serving as a means of effective monitoring.
We urge the public to come forward with any information they may have or if they are aware of companies involved and lodge reports with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the police. This gets personal as it concerns the food they consume.
The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center) calls for those involved in the scandal to be called out and punished severely, and for the companies and government agencies responsible for this to be penalised.
In a matter that so deeply affects Malaysians, not only in their religious beliefs but potentially public health, a decisive and severe response is called for. – C4 Center