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It is common knowledge that corruption is relatively rampant in the civil service. Of late only do we hear some stiff measures being taken to reduce this scourge. But for many years we have been hearing of such measures being mooted but we have yet to see drastic desired outcome, that is reduced corrupt practices among the custodian of public service. In fact, to many of us the anti-corruption slogans in years past are only lip service. There are just no concrete continuous strategies to eliminate corrupt practices.

We get the feeling that the civil service is just helpless to combat the social disease and the Malaysian society appears to have accepted this way of doing things especially when there is a win-win situation for example rather than paying Rm30 for a traffic violation, a RM10 to the cop would settle all matters and avoid extreme inconveniences.

Anti-corruption mission needs to be government-led so that its coverage will also include the private sector especially those GLCs ( government-linked companies) controlling massive assets like Sime -Darby and Petronas and which are not unknown as to subscribing to corrupt practices as well.

The society seems to think that this present situation is not that bad. Well it is now when you hear of Immigration officers getting paid for allowing unauthorised foreigners to come into the country and be in league with human traffickers! Recently we heard of immigration officers having millions in their bank account with choice properties in the Klang valley. Now how come they accumulate those wealth with their salary?

Enforcement officers taking money for not doing their job have become commonplace. Some of the at risk departments include the police, immigration, custom, road transport and local authorities. More stringent anti-corruption programmes should be instituted in these organisations. Sustainable and continuing monitoring should be in place and moral and religious education should be brought to bear and indicators should be used to fast-track the performance. And yet are these being done? There is no specific focus on this evil and so it thrives for the last 50 over years.

We had a PM who began with a promise to fight corruption and he ended up with more corruption in the country. He was only at the point of putting structures and framework to fight the evil and had lost steam when there were no clear directions as to what to do. I wonder what happens to the Institute of Integrity he established.

And what about the head of the civil service, the chief secretary to the government? He only knows and talks about punitive measures. He expects all civil servants to adhere to the general orders and government circulars and that’s it, his work is done, fatwa-style. Gosh! How pitiable we are. The politicians themselves are a helpless lot and this situation has led to unhealthy speculation about them.

You have vision, you have mission and you formulate objectives and draw up strategies and all these need to have activities, tangible actions as to what to do to drive the message home and to ensure the message is being internalised and to track the indicators of those activities, and this is what talks and actions are all about and not just talks and fantasy!

All sectors of the civil service must have a living plan. Even education department must play a role in nurturing integrity in students so that when they become adults the concept of abuse/misuse of power can be easily drummed in to them.

MACC (Malaysian Anti-corruption Council) should have a training programme for their officers in terms of investigations and collection of evidence to ensure that they hold in courts. They may need to be sent to overseas such as Hong Kong and Singapore to strengthen their knowledge and skill especially when dealing with complicated cases well beyond their capability. They need to have a panel of consultants whom they can refer to in special cases. At the moment they do not seem to tap into this human potential to help them get justice.

Some years back, there was an initiative to have a kind of risk approach to address corruption in the civil service, somehow the programme died a natural death as there was no vigorous promotion and support from the top.

Our society seems to be more concerned with forms like proper dressing in a certain culture but looks like we would rather be naked spiritually and substance-poor as far as corruption is concerned.

Fighting corruption should take the form of a movement. The whole society needs to abhor these evil practices so as to safeguard our dignity, quality of life and to promote a just society.

The civil service leadership should take this up as their clarion call and not just leave it to MACC (Malaysian Anti-corruption Council), towards a better Malaysia and needless to say, a political will is sorely needed to support this war on corruption.

Are we all in Malaysia up to it?

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