WE HAVE long grumbled that there should be stronger and swifter action against high-ranking officials who use their positions for personal gain instead of serving the public interest.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) ongoing streak of arrests and court cases involving senior officers in civil service and the private sector is encouraging, but even that may not satisfy the cynics, who are likely to point out that there are plenty more big fish out there and that there is no sign of a decline in corruption and abuse of power.
That is an easy thing to do – blame others when things do not go well and then expect the corruption fighters to clean up a huge and complex mess. But it surely cannot be the only thing we are capable of doing.
The MACC has a suggestion: to join the “revolutionary movement” against corruption.
That sounds like a lot of work, but Gerakan Revolusi Anti-Rasuah (Gerah) is actually a nationwide awareness campaign to change how people view corruption and abuse of power.
The ultimate aim is to enlist the support of the people in the war against corruption by shaping society to “hate, reject and fight corruption”.
“Our intention is to create a sense of fear and uneasiness so that wrongdoers will feel the heat. They should, for they are gambling away the peace, security and harmony of society, as well as jeopardising the country’s growth,” MACC chief commissioner Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad told Sunday Star.
The commission will mobilise 2,000 officers from all over the country to meet the people and foster closer rapport and cooperation.
This is not a mere public relations exercise. Efforts to stamp out corruption cannot just focus on those who take the money.
In treating corruption and abuse of power as the country’s No. 1 enemy, we also have to acknowledge that we are partly responsible for sustaining this enemy.
Every time we offer a bribe, refuse to be a whistleblower or blithely dismiss corruption as “the Malaysian way”, we are strengthening the very thing that threatens to choke our nation’s development.
It is therefore fitting that Gerah incorporates the month-long 3J campaign, which the MACC launched on Monday in a partnership with Star Media Group Bhd.
The 3J name is shorthand for “Jangan Hulur, Jangan Kawtim, Jangan Settle”, which means “Don’t Give and Don’t Settle”.
It is a clever use of colloquial words that are synonymous with corruption, and there is little chance of misunderstanding the intent of the campaign.
“We hope this will pave the way for people to say no to corruption and create a society that has the courage to stand up and fight not only against corruption, but the corruptors,” said Dzulkifli at the launch.
Here is our choice: Be part of the “revolutionary movement” or do nothing and yet expect life to be better.