Monday, May 22, 2017

War on Corruption Again.

Reading the local newspapers reporting on corruption cases today reminds me of the situation when the Anti Corruption Agency was set up in the 1960s. The malady was rife, but involving low-level officers, especially policemen, taking pittance on the sly from the public. Now we have the Honorables (Yang Berhormat) and very senior officers in law enforcement agencies involved, involving millions of ringgit.

So what? seome people(in Malaysia and outside) are saying. Political leaders are alleged to be involved in receiving billions of ringgit in bribes, commissions, kickbacks, or just political contribution. Some are said to be the de facto owners of various companies which invariably won government tenders for multimillion ringgit projects. It is also alleged that the prices quoted in all tenders are artificially marked up to accommodate hidden political costs. Hence, the doubling or tripling of all construction costs and service charges, resulting in the the astronomical rise in cost of living.
this can perpetuate a culture of poverty
But the allegations remain as allegations when politics is involved.No immediate and convincing investigation seems to be undertaken, except when politicians in the opposition camp or who're not prominent supporters of the government are involved Only the public and civil servants with no political godfather to protect them will get the full blast of he law. Nevertheless, at least a few politicians and high-ranking police officers have now been roped in to show that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is not showing any fear or favour of any kind to anyone suspected of corruption or misuse of power. All allegations are being investigated regardless of the official or social standing of the suspect as it should be.
an earlier commander of the war

At the highest political level, there shouldn't be any shadow of a doubt on the integrity of the leaders. Unless an allegation can be cleared convincingly, a leader suspected of corruption or misuse of pose should step aside and take time to regain the confidence of the public. Holding onto the rein of power with a stained reputation or a soiled image can only hurt the nation as a whole.

In this regard developed countries seemed to have a stronger code of ethics than the developing or less developed ones. Their leaders who are suspected of corruption or misuse of power would step down voluntarily without being forced to do so. This indeed is a sign of deep respect for the sovereignty and integrity of the nation. When such is not the case, all efforts at fighting and weeding away corruption and misuse of power tend to be looked upon as "window cleaning" or "removing unwanted characters" from a troubled political scenario.
the US war on kleptocracy

An old English saying to depict futile efforts in regulating expenditure and stopping unwise spending is ' pennywise pound foolish". When corruption happens at the top of the administrative hierarchy of a nation while all efforts are being made at the middle and lower levels to stamp it out, the old saying seems to be relevant again. All efforts are being made to stop illegal payments and loss of revenue through failure to collect tax money by corrupt officials involving thousands or a few millions. But billions are lost through financial manipulations and corrupt dealings at the highest level of government. So, millions in public revenue are saved but billions are lost - money which should benefit the people.

Who wants to win a war on corruption but loose a war on internal leakage of public funds and kleptocracy? The former is a curable disease but the latter is a disastrous plague.

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