The latest turn of events involving Bersatu president Mahiaddin Yasin’s charges of abuse of power and money laundering indicates the supposed resolve of the Anwar Ibrahim administration to wage a war against widespread corruption.
It should also send a message to the people that they too must have zero tolerance towards corruption if their nation is to move forward – and not left behind shamelessly by countries in our region and elsewhere.
Our country has suffered enough under the weight of massive corruption, particularly when taxpayers’ money meant for the collective benefit of ordinary people has has been used to line the pockets of certain politicians, their families and cronies over the years.
It is obviously not a badge of honour for our nation to have amassed a debt of RM1.2tn, with annual interest payments totalling RM45bn. Corruption has partly contributed to this situation.
Nothing, it appears, could deter the corrupt from putting their hands in the till – not even religious teachings that have been made easily accessible, particularly to the adherents of Islam.
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What’s even shocking is that some irresponsible elements have found it convenient to clothe corruption with their own interpretation of their religion, making stealing money kosher – without pricking their conscience.
It is also heinous that some politicians commit corrupt acts that hurt the very interests of the ethno-religious community they purportedly vowed to protect and promote.
Many expect this war on corruption to be waged against anyone, irrespective of party or business affiliations, ethnicities, faiths or social status.
Transparency and professionalism are also vital in the process of the authorities checking the onslaught of graft.
That is why it is crucial the government is seen to not be practising double standards in dealing with the corrupt.
On social media, for instance, some people have asked about the government’s swiftness in apprehending the suspects involved in the Jana Wibawa scandal [in contrast to how it has been] quiet on the littoral combat ships controversy, which emerged under the watch of the previous Barisan Nasional government.
The seeming contradiction between the two situations must be addressed.
Corruption can no longer be normalised to the extent our young generation might feel it’s ‘cool’ to indulge in it, and possibly hail the corrupt as heroes.
In fact, school pupils should be taught from young to hate corruption and to instead value integrity and honesty. In no uncertain terms, they should be told that corruption is indeed wrong.
The younger generation must also be told that there’s more to life than greed and power and that crass materialism should be frowned upon.
What is also equally important is for the authorities to catch the ‘big fish’ and make them an example to those tempted to be corrupt.
At the same time, enforcement agencies such as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission should be made more independent, and have more legal bite to fiercely snuff out corruption.
There should be no compromises in the fight against the scourge of corruption. – The Malaysian Insight