A SUCCESSFUL anti-corruption policy must eliminate corruption or, at the very least, reduce it drastically. It must cleanse the nation of this scourge of society and instill in the people a fear and an abhorrence of corruption in all its visible and insidious forms. It must arouse the attitude of zero tolerance for corruption which is the mark of a truly progressive country.
A tall order for the remaining five years for a cleansing that may need five terms of concerted government efforts.
Moral cleansing is no simple matter when the culture of bribery and corruption has been allowed to fester under the umbrella of growth and development. It will be a challenge to reinstate the less lucrative values of honesty and uprightness.
For Malaysians who are proud of their diverse ethnicities and faiths, faithful in preserving their religious and cultural heritage, and dogged in executing the prescribed rites and rituals, why has corruption become entrenched in their work culture?
One does not have to do intensive research to realise that whereas in the past, poverty was at the root of the money-inducement culture, today the desire to make more money is at the root of bribe-giving and bribe-taking.
Whereas in the past, the whole kampung would be ashamed if the policeman took a bribe, today the community shrugs its shoulders and turns the other way. In other words, Malaysians have become a people who are highly tolerant of corruption.
Greed underlies graft and corrupt practices among politicians and high-level officials. When opportunities for procurement abound, people in positions of power consider it their privilege to be distributing tenders and licences for rewards in cash and kind.
When enforcement officers tasked with implementing the law fall prey to corruption, the country is in dire straits. When greed turns to avarice, society is doomed.
Much is contained in the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) launched recently. It is an expertly crafted master plan with a clearly-defined implementation framework and a precise roadmap charting the strategies and direction of Malaysia’s anti-corruption drive at the international, federal and state levels.
Key to the NACP’s success is the equally, if not more important goal of establishing good governance and integrity measures in priority areas such as political governance, public sector administration, public procurement, legal and judicial, law enforcement and corporate governance.
Without a doubt the two goals of eliminating corruption and establishing stringent ethical standards are complementary.
This raises the issue of executing an effective public campaign. Social media has the potential of creating awareness and getting support.
The current “Bossku” campaign on social media should be enough to convince Malaysians that such strategies work.
Which makes it all the more crucial for the government to implement a powerful public campaign. Create effective branding to make integrity fashionable.
Use catchy slogans such as Trendy Integrity or Bribery Stinks and popular icons like Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman or Datuk Siti Nurhaliza to promote them.
Town hall talks and government and corporate workshops on corruption must be supplemented with motorbike excursions of sports icons from town to town to wave the anti-corruption flag.
Musical concerts and cultural performances must be preceded by Negaraku and end with a catchy integrity song.
The anti-corruption war is a formidable one to fight a scourge which has become widespread and ingrained in society.
Creative and innovative measures must be in place to reinforce official plans and policies.
DATUK HALIMAH MOHD SAID
President, Association of Voices of Peace, Conscience and Reason