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As the government of Malaysia is stepping up its efforts to eliminate corruption, the public should play its role to support these. Let us say “NO TO CORRUPTION”.

The corruption in Malaysia occurs at almost all levels and involves small and big fish. It is however the small fish that is often got caught, charged, tried successfully and sentenced. We hear of a low-ranking policeman given a bribe and later arrested, tried, found guilty and then jailed. Then we hear of a Director General of a ministry who received free expensive dental treatment, charged, tried and not found guilty. Look like justice for the small fish and the big fish is unequal. Unequal justice is no justice!

An agency like the Malaysian anti-corruption council (MACC) will have to be innovative in order to mount successful prosecution of cases. Despite their training in the art of interrogation, the staff might still not be able to formulate and pose probing questions to extract meaningful responses from the witness or the suspect. That is why I believe, in many cases, the interrogating officers became frustrated and use physical force or choose to mentally torture the witness/suspect by questioning them for long period of time, at unsavory hours and without a lawyer (unheard of in Malaysia).

It is common among the legal fraternity to find lawyers specializing in various fields, for example, criminal, intellectual property, medico-legal and family law so that they become conversant and able to defend their clients in a professional manner. This specialization is found in other profession as well such as the police, medical and engineering. Specialization will enable better focus, reliability and validity of approach at problem solving.

While specialization is the way to go, it may be difficult to have it in the short term so MACC will have to outsource the expertise if they are serious to fight corruption. I do not know whether they are actually doing this already, if so, kudos to them. From what I observe, they have not been that successful in areas related to land fraud. There are experts in land matters in our country that MACC could have asked for opinion on how to approach the subject and the right questions to ask. I would suggest that a fee should also be paid to these experts for their skill and time.

Many corruption-abhorred citizens welcome the establishment of corruption lab by the Najib government, imagine if UMNO still followed the Abdullah Badawi’s plan of transition of power only in 2010!! I really shudder at the thought. At least the new PM have both strategies and activities to tackle corruption. During Badawi’s time, he acted like a fatwa-issuing person without specific activities so it was just a fantasy of his! We had a National Integrity Institute (NII) which was good at talking, suggesting and more talking. Holding seminars in five-star hotels and no visible results. And more seminars were being held.

There was a NNI seminar (2006?) for about 1000 teachers held in a big hotel where they were supposed to return to their respective schools and teach their students on integrity! Many of the teachers interviewed after the seminar admitted they came away with no better knowledge and skill on how to teach integrity. It was a sheer waste of government (tax-payers ) money. Seminar in seminar out, that seems to be the culture of the decadence and the day dreamers.

The lab concept introduced by the former MAS CEO Datuk Idris Jala gives the impression that things are being studied to come up with the best strategies and actions to fight corruption. In today’s STAR we had a glimpse of what they are doing in the lab on corruption. I am relieved to see this new development. A responsible government is the government that can defend its citizens against corruption.

We want a corruption-free society so that there is no widespread social resentment and where the weak and the poor are treated fairly and services are obtained at no extra cost. We want projects to be tendered openly and only people who have the capability to handle and complete them should be considered. Do away with cronyism and nepotism. Assist the Bumiputra if needs be but not at the expense of the people especially when some of this selected Bumi do not perform.

Let the World see that fighting corruption is a serious business in Malaysia.

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