It is time we had some form of holistic study to ascertain the extent of these three types of practices that reflect a lack of integrity in our midst, writes JD Lovrenciear.
The responsibility for safeguarding the citizens’ right to a decent livelihood falls squarely on the shoulders of our rulers and every elected public officer, ie the members of Parliament.
But in Malaysia, three types of practices have taken root and are depriving the rakyat of a better quality of life and delivery of services.
The first type involves cases where contracts are believed to be awarded, only to be later defaulted. Such alleged collusion leads to a process resulting in the government eventually having to pay compensation, with the loot then allegedly shared between the contracting company and several politicians. The impending royal commission of inquiry we have been promised will most likely expose the extent of this type of alleged looting from the rakyat.
The second type involves cases of contractors delivering substandard services and products. This leads to the government having to spend even more to rescue or make good the consequences with the costs being borne by the public. From substandard road repairs to waste disposal, from construction to government supplies – you name it, we have it.
The third type involves cases of businesses believed to be cutting corners to make up for a loss of profits suffered because of rent-seeking practices and possible corruption involving civil servants tasked with ensuring that terms and conditions are observed by the contractors. In the end, customers and consumers invariably end up picking up the tab.
When citizens are robbed of their right to a decent livelihood – either because they have to shoulder the costs from these three types of cases or suffer substandard services – it is the country that suffers.
It is time we had some form of holistic study to ascertain the extent of these three types of practices that reflect a lack of integrity in our midst. Until and unless we recognise the seriousness of this problem, which affects the people’s quality of life, we are destined to sink beyond redemption.
The elusive target of becoming a first world nation can only become a reality if we ensure that every citizen is assured the right to a decent livelihood. Otherwise, the lower-income group will swell into a fast-expanding layer of Malaysian society.