TUN Dr Mahathir Mohamad has one simple advice for university students who came to listen to him at a local university – corruption is a crime and for Muslims it is a sin and you will go to hell.
The Prime Minister, who attended the Toyo University Student Dialogue yesterday, said the best weapon against corruption is to tell the youngsters that such an act is a crime.
“That is the best form of defence and you grow up rejecting it and society will be better.
“In most cases, people get easily tempted. You don’t work but get a lot of money by abusing the power that you have,” he said in reply to a question from an Uzbek student.
Giving an example, Dr Mahathir said that in a democracy, some people were open to receiving money and voting for those who paid them.
“That is bad ... People in power have many ways of abusing power to enrich themselves. When you have the top man corrupt, then the whole country becomes corrupt.
“This is what we experienced with the last government because the prime minister was corrupt to a very high degree and the whole machinery of government became corrupted.
“Because of that, the people suffered as everything cost more and they have to pay more to get services that they ask for,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said in Malaysia, a new government was voted in and promised to eradicate corruption, adding that the government had passed laws to ensure that even top leaders could not be corrupted easily.
The first step being taken was to ensure the prime minister and his Cabinet members were not corrupt, he said.
“The prime minister, for example, can only serve two terms. Last time I was the leader for five terms, now I can only be PM for two terms.
“But because of my advanced age, I can’t even last one term.
“(But) that is beside the point. The thing is that the PM does not have absolute power forever. Actions are taken today if you live beyond your means or certain salaries, you have big cars and palaces.
“The MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) will come in and ask where you got the money.”