It's not non-Muslims but political lobbyists driving graft, G25 tells Hadi

  • Nation
  • Monday, 22 Aug 2022

PETALING JAYA: Political lobbyists are the real "movers and shakers" of corruption, not non-Muslims, says G25.

The group of eminent Malays said PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang's attempt to blame non-Muslims for corruption showed his lack of knowledge of its root causes.

Divisional party leaders of the political party in power are often at the front line of high-level corruption, said G25.

Abdul Hadi should also have mentioned how money is used to make political lobbying attractive to party officials, they said, adding that corruption has no racial divide among givers and takers.

"And the best lobbyists are those who are family, friends and relatives of those in power," it said in a statement on Monday (Aug 22).

G25 added that Abdul Hadi's remark ignored the truth that the frontliners who act as lobbyists for business owners were members of the party in power at Federal or state level.

"The lobbyists go for whoever can offer them the best deal such as a success fee or a partnership in a non-Malay company.

"It is therefore not right to blame the non-Malays as the big players in the corruption scandals because as the saying goes, it takes two to tango," they said.

G25 added that Abdul Hadi, who believes that his party should be in power in Putrajaya, is being irresponsible to his own party members for turning corruption into a racial issue as that will not sit well with voters.

His statement also caused distress among non-Muslims for being made the scapegoat for institutional weaknesses that make it possible for corruption to spread like a cancer, said G25.

A more responsible way is to take a non-racial approach by recognising the truth, whether in Malaysia or in any country in any part of the world, that when bureaucracy becomes too difficult to get things done, corruption starts to rear its ugly head, said G25.

"In Malaysia, it used to take the whole morning and sometimes the whole day to get renewal of permits, licences, visas and passports done.

"In such a situation, there is a strong tendency for those running their business to use tips or 'duit kopi' (coffee money) to get faster service so that the applicants can get back to work," said G25.

It said that while the problem of petty corruption at government office counters has gone down because of greater administrative efficiency due to the adoption of technology, high level-corruption has been increasing at an alarming rate.

Some writers on the Malaysian political economy refer to lobbyists as "rent collectors", said G25.

"They do not do any real work except to knock on the doors of ministers and get paid by their business principles for making introductions," said G25.

Foreign investors who are not familiar with Malaysian politics and the local decision-making process also make use of lobbyists for their high-level contacts, it said.

Foreigners know that to get government business, like the littoral combat ship (LCS) contracts, they have to get the lobbyists to do what is necessary including giving incentive money to open doors for their clients at high levels, said G25.

"With so many 'rent collectors' to pay, the cost of corruption makes government expenditure unnecessarily high.

"This 'I scratch your back, you scratch mine' syndrome applies to all races because money knows no race," said G25.

It added that as the political leader of a party that governs Kelantan, Abdul Hadi should know about this syndrome because, when illegal logging of the state's forest reserves became a public issue, the people suspected there was bribery and corruption behind the destruction of natural resources.

"There is also cross-border smuggling along the Thai border that raises the question of whether PAS leaders are tolerating the corruption," said G25.

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