Over the past few decades, Malaysia’s image has been plagued by issues of corruption with the country losing almost RM1.8 trillion in a span of 10 years (2004 – 2014).
The “leakage” recorded by a study conducted by Transparency International (TI) amounted to around 4% of the country’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Imagine the opportunities lost and wasted from the outflow of Malaysia’s funds that could have been used for the development and strengthening of the economy.
Malaysia is currently ranked 61 in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2018, way behind the top ranked nations of Denmark and New Zealand.
Can we beat them, or at the very least be ranked within the top 10 best nations? The answer is contained within the grasp of our very own hands as Malaysian citizens.
IIM as the operational armAfter the new government took over the administration, the National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption (GIACC) was formed under the Prime Minister’s Department.
The centre is led by Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed, former Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), who is also responsible in advising the Prime Minister on governance, integrity and anti-corruption issues, designing strategic plans and initiatives, evaluating the efficacy of action plans carried out by the implementing agencies, and preparing reports to the government through the Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption.
In line with this, the Malaysian Institute of Integrity (IIM) is placed under GIACC as the operational arm to develop the public and private sectors’ competency and capacity on governance, integrity and anti-corruption.
One of IIM’s strategies includes establishing and broadening smart partnerships through a variety of training programmes, consultations and awareness programmes, where a number of instruments and methods are introduced to organisations as practical preventive measures against corruption. Section 17 MACC Act 2009Starting June 1,2020, the amendment made to Section 17A of the MACC Act 2009 will come into force. According to the amendment, commercial organisations can be persecuted if any individuals associated to the organisation are found to have committed any corrupt acts for the benefit of the organisation.
Therefore, all commercial organisations need to be aware of this amendment to the Act.
This is because the penalties imposed are stiff. Penalties include 10 times the amount of the bribe, or RM1 million; whichever is higher, maximum jail of 20 years, or both.
However, commercial organisations can be exempted from being penalised if they can prove that they have taken and put in place sufficient efforts to prevent corruption.
SolutionsWe have to understand that the effort to prevent corruption is not easy. It requires unwavering commitment from organisations’ top management and various, creative and innovative methods on par with current and technological advancements, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and big data.
Actually, it is more practical for us to adopt the approach of “prevention is better than cure”, rather than punishing those who have been caught involved in the crime.
In this regard, IIM is ready to assist organisations adopt suitable instruments and methods towards developing a culture of good governance, high integrity and anti-corruption.
Among the tools and systems are the Anti-Bribery Management Systems (ABMS), Corruption Risk Management (CRM), Organisational Anti-Corruption Plan (OACP), Human Governance Profiling (HGP), Integrity Assessment Tool (IAT), Community Integrity Building (CIB), and Ethics and Integrity Training Programme (E&I).
ABMS is a comprehensive system based on the international standards, ISO 37001:2016 and is used by organisations to prevent, detect and facilitate compliance with corruption-related laws.
Meanwhile, CRM is a risk-based management method developed to help the highest level echelons in the organisation to classify corruption risks and strategize action plans that will be able to help minimize exposure to potential corruption.
HGP is an integrity assessment platform that uses psychometric approach to measure an individual’s inclination, and evaluate the individual’s behaviour and experiences based on his or her beliefs and integrity stance. On the other hand, IAT is an instrument that measures and analyses gaps by identifying internal toxins within an organisation.
CIB is a social accountability approach that helps, detects and implicates the best solution in order to enhance the level of integrity within the community setting.
Lastly, the E&I programme focuses on how to manage conflict of interests, manage change in addressing regulatory system and rules, issues and challenges, and prevent corruption so that good values, ethics and integrity can be elevated.
National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) 2019-2023 The new government of today is serious in eliminating corruption; and on Jan 29 2019, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched the NACP which contains six strategies and 115 initiatives.
Among the initiatives that corporate organisations need to implement are:
> To introduce integrity vetting in the selection of top management;
> To develop the Organisational Anti-Corruption Plan (OACP); and
>. To implement Anti-Bribery Management Systems (ABMS) in accordance with ISO 37001: 2016 standards, and to obtain the ABMS certification, which will become a prerequisite in order to bid for government contracts.
I believe that if everyone played their part in ensuring the success of all these NACP initiatives, our country will be able to rise again and become a nation free from corruption.
“Each of us has a role to play in the noble effort to free Malaysia from corruption.”
The writer is the acting chief executive officer of the Malaysian Institute of Integrity. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.