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Some 60 Malaysian custom officers have been arrested following a multi-agency swoop over their locations of duty last week. Some were found with millions of ringgit in their bank accounts ( far exceeding their take-home salary) and some had gold bars in their houses. I am speechless at the widespread corruption in our border enforcement officers. Again this could be just the tip of the iceberg.

I am also ashamed as at one time I used to be so naive as to think that our government servants are not generally corrupted. I used to pride myself by telling my Indonesian colleagues that corruption was minimal in Malaysia, hinting to them that how unfortunate their country was being saddled by corrupt officials! After more than 15 years, I am forced to swallow my words and would like to apologise to my friends, Siti Sri Rezeki, Widodo and Sulem that I was naive and wrong about my country. A sense of sadness overwhelms me reading about these officers who abuse their power, live off corruption, feeding their children with foods bought by sin money. Yes, they must be living in luxury as well but not due to their hard work but through sacrificing their loose integrity to bribe-givers.

If they were corrupt like this , they could very well expose our country to danger by compromising on security like dealing with human trafficking, arms smuggling, importation/exportation of stolen goods,pornography, endangered wild life and contaminated foods, God you name it, these parasites and blood-sucking b*#&ard would do it in the name of money.The country’s well being can take a back seat and her security is left to the dogs. Sounds like treasonable acts to me.

And to think that over the years, the uniformed officers, be it the police, immigration and custom are donning their female staff in “Islamic” attires of head covering etcetera. It is all about rich in forms and poor in substance. I am sure the Holy book talks about the avoidance of “RIBA” which is bribery in Arabic so as to protect ourselves from activities deleterious to our country. The more they appear religious, the more corrupt they are!

Their activities are certainly dangerous to our economy if left unaddressed. What to do if all these 60 and perhaps more of these errant officers are found to be involved in these corrupt activities based on evidence? To try all of them would cost so much money and wasted court times besides enriching many lawyers.

If I had my way I would send all of them to Kemunting Detention Camp under ISA (Internal Security Act) and re-educate them. And of course some smart Alecks will scream at this so-called injustice as there is no proper legal process of charging and court trial. Another way is to confiscate all their ill-gotten money and their properties and set up a disciplinary action committee and sack the lot of them. Just charge those really big ones like the officer with a Datukship in court… this one must be bloody big as he is a senior officer.

What can we do in the face of this entrenched corruption among our uniformed staff? Besides tightening anti-corruption measures, more substantial measures need to be taken right from the school levels, recruitment, training and on-the-job supervision. No point building numerous Sekolah Ugama (religious schools) if the subject of corruption is not introduced at this level. Corruption should be made a “dirty” word and fights against it should be sustained. It is not enough by imploring the fear of God and hellfire in these people without them internalising the detestable effects of corruption.

Awareness, consistent corruption-free practices and conscience are critical components to cement the staff resolve to avoid corruption. The scourge will not be eradicated whatever is done as long as human greed knows no bound. But at least we should work on meeting at least the 85% target of no corruption in this department’s transactions.

Measures should also be taken to weaken syndicates. Syndicates would not exist so easily had our officers upheld their integrity. Easier said than done but we must continue to stamp out this menace for our country’s sake.

The government must make it compulsory for all uniform officers dealing with the public to practice Risk Management Plan or Pelan pengurusan risiko (PPR). In this plan they need to use the given framework to come up with their own strategies and activities to prevent corruption. When they have ownership of the plan they are bound to adhere to it better. Drum into them the evil of corruption and make them accountable for their actions. Integrity should be safeguarded and not sacrificed.

Let us eliminate corruption in Malaysia and facilitate the creation of a just society for our future generation!

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