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I was told to give the evidence when I pronounced to my close friends, this and that as corrupt. Of course I could not provide the evidence as required by civil society which adheres to the rule of law. It would be a tragedy if an innocent party is accused of being corrupt and humiliated in public. My friends are wise.

I used to be naive when I thought there was no rampant corruption in Malaysia. People always talked about our neighbors being corrupt but not us. We inherit the administrative system from the British who gave us a system of check and balance. This was especially so before the privatization of government agencies and the mushrooming of the private sector in the eighties where caution and financial control were virtually thrown to the wind. Not much talk about corporate governance then.

It is very difficult some time to differentiate between corrupt practice or a simple token of appreciation for your official deeds. I have a friend who used to receive a lot of hampers during festive season when he was the head of a government agency dealing with numerous contracts. Some of those hampers were actually from his own grateful staff. He used to make it known that all the contents of those hampers were distributed to his office staff. Those sent to his house were picked up by his driver and sent to the department.

He related a story of when a group of young salesmen from a company wanting to hand him an all-expenses paid trip to attend a seminar overseas for about five days. He politely rejected it and told them that their company was bidding for supply of a set of expensive equipment and he would not want to be indebted to them as to choose their company in the quotation meeting. He then lectured them on the need to select equipment based on safety and quality for the public which might include the young men before him.

Suffice to say the salesmen ended up shaking his hands vigorously and apologizing. Words spread fast no companies had since approached him for favors except those with political connections!! Even they grudgingly respected him and did not pressure him but those below him. How many such civil servants in our midst?

After his retirement nearly 10 years ago. his staff and a couple of companies still leave hampers at his front gate. Surely this is no corruption as he no longer has any authority to determine who gets what contract etc? So the definition of corruption involves the use of power to approve things to people/companies giving you all forms of incentives, a free overseas trip even an expensive dental treatment and perhaps even sex workers for weak-livered men to influence his/her decision to favor the said companies.

My first encounter with corrupt officers was when my friend and I were entering into a no-through road to towards a hotel in KL. In fact we did not realize it as we were talking and from behind a big tree a motorcycle with two policemen appeared and stopped us. Instead of taking out their book, they engaged us in small talks. They wouldn’t let us go neither did they ask for our license to write out the summon.

Then we gradually realized that the two guys were trying to get some money from us. My friend turned it around by dropping the name of his Godfather who happened to be the city CPO and slowly and meekly the men let us go with an advise to be careful when driving and off they went!

My friend’s daughter was about to go for a driving license test, this was about six years ago. She came back one day and told her father that the driving instructor said if she paid RM150 she would pass the first time. The father flatly told her not to pay instead to pass the test on her own. Each test cost RM70 and she ended up paying RM210 for three tests before they passed her! It is no wonder our accident rates are among the highest in the world! And our driving license is not recognized by UK but Singapore’s driving license is.

But I hear that JPJ is getting less corrupt now under the new Director General who is a no-nonsense man: but for how long? As the scourge will rear its ugly head again if the guard is stood down.

Sometime early this year I was riding a taxi and the driver boasted that he could get his car passed by PUSPAKOM even though not really road worthy, every year no problem. I felt a sense of disgust but did not want to worsen the tone of the conversation. I dread driving on Malaysian roads with this kind of practices going on.

What about big contracts? You hear about them, a 100 million – project became 300 million. You only hear but where is the evidence? Till the mammoth PKFTZ scandal, people just know there are corrupt practices going on but the authorities have failed to follow up and when followed up, case thrown out due to lack of evidence. Sometime don’t we all wish for a kind of dark justice for these leeches and scum of the earth prying on public money, raising the cost of doing business, chasing foreign investors away, leaving the rakyat to suffer?

There is no justice in a corrupt-ridden society. There is no fairness and no social mobility. The rich become richer, the poor poorer and time will come when the society breaks down with social problems when the masses have nothing to lose and start attacking the rich, the powerful and the privileged.

Remember the French and the Russian revolutions which came about due to poverty, public dissatisfaction, unequal distribution of wealth and hopelessness. There are no universal values of sharing and caring in a corrupt society. We need to stamp out corruption at all levels by walking the talk!

It is a tragic irony, the more wealthy the country has become and as people become more pious as shown by their attire, the more corrupt our country has become based on the worsening annual Perception Index of Transparency International (TI)

Just look at the palatial houses of some politicians. Where do they get the money to build houses of such a scale based on their salaries? Calculation can be done as to determine whether the money comes from ill-gotten sources or not. Just like some smart mathematician who calculated Madoff’s company’s dividend’s earnings and able to show that it was a Ponzi scheme, cheating so many unsuspecting clients! It can be done, it is just that The MACC officers should be properly trained to use their mind and not their mindless muscular strength.

The practice of retaining a politician for a long time also breeds corrupt practice. Possessing no evidence, I would not want to accuse these low-down lives of corruption. They should know for themselves. I wish all Malaysian would pray for their horrible ends, though I am not a follower of Tok Guru Nik Aziz, I would like to think that the power that be will destroy these #&*^#*^ from continuously enriching themselves out of their position of trust if we all put our palms skyward every now and then.

The same can be observed in some civil servants, hardly a few years in a position of power, have already built mansions. I visited one of the East Malaysia states last year and was shown such palatial homes. You notice some in other states as well.

Accumulation of wealth after retirement is another contentious issue. My sister-in-law’s late father who was a retired senior civil servant only had about RM800,000 in his unit trust account after working for almost 30 years. He had some shares in the stock market as a result of prudent investment in the early nineties.

Nothing suspicious. She and her children are the only beneficiaries being the only child of an only child and her mother had also passed away so as my brother, her husband.We are grateful to her father. Had it been RM37 Million in his accounts, we would be looking at each other! Again no evidence mah!

My other encounter with perceived corruption is when I asked the DVD sellers how was it they were able to continue selling faked items with the enforcement hot on their heels. A lot of arrest reports in the news and the man replied nonchalantly that ” Too many raids already, that is absolutely normal for us!”

What about another civil servant who, some years ago, was harassed by a politician representing a certain party to recommend a new RM10 million contract instead of the current RM4 Million to supply a certain commodity to the government ? In fact he still keeps his threatening SMSes.

To make matters worse, his superiors also directed him to recommend the higher contract. Jesus Christ, these people were bleeding the rakyat,pure and simple.How do you gather evidence on this? Especially the system can easily be bent from the top? If you are not careful and mind your own business you can be transferred to the PTD pool, an abyss of despair, I was told, for errant civil servants.

I also want to relate a friend of a friend whose company struck up a multi-million maintenance contract with the National Petroleum company and he was saying his company had to fork out payment for frequent air fares for the senior staff of the company and their families as well as part of the deal. I am sure this company just cut corners to stay competitive as a result services might be substandard.

Again no evidence but the company can always check on the staffs’ travels by air if they are truly practicing integrity. Unless someone checks, nobody will know. And by the way, this national oil company only employs professionals with family connection in the company. Cronyism and nepotism, sound familiar? We don’t see the effects of this corrupt practice yet as the oil has not stopped flowing.

These corrupt public servants, GLCs including politicians are able to continue with the abhorred practices because our country is rich with natural resources such as oil and timber but these will not last forever and our rent-seeking behavior cannot just continue: What chances does our future generation have?

Systematic corruption is extremely difficult to be eradicated by human law. Only an childhood upbringing imbued with good moral values would strengthen the fight.

Let the rakyat put our palms together skyward and let the power that be decide the fate of these low-life cheats who hide behind human law and feeding themselves and their family members with filthy money.

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