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The non-Malay community should learn from the Malays by refusing to give bribes and lodging reports of such attempts to the authorities
by Lim Guan Eng
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): DAP is not surprised at the Malaysia Transparency Perception survey (from Nov 30 2006 to January 12 2007) that problems relating to integrity and transparency in government agencies remain "acute and serious". When respondents were asked whether they have given bribes over the last one year, 14% of Malays, 58% of Chinese and 23% of Indians said yes.
Economic predatory instincts amongst police, Road Transport Department (JPJ) and Customs Department as well as ethnic factors are the main cause why non-Malays are more prone to give bribes than Malays. This is not surprising as it is only a reflection of the political and racial structure of society created by BN with one race dominating the civil service.
Further Malay civil servants would not dare to ask or receive bribes from another Malay because Malays would not only refuse to give bribes but is more likely to report such bribery to the authorities than a non-Malay. Unless the racial imbalance in the civil service is corrected, the non-Malay community should learn from the Malays by refusing to give bribes and lodging reports of such attempts to the authorities.
Of more concern is that levels of integrity and transparency in both the public and private sectors have not changed over the last 12 months. Both the public and corporate sector listed the police as the most corrupt and the Customs Department as the third worst offender. For the second worst offender, the public had listed JPJ whilst the corporate sector picked political parties. JPJ was listed as the fifth worst offender by the corporate sector.
This shows that all efforts by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi infighting corruption has been fruitless because he lacks the political will to follow through in taking action against those who are corrupt. Apart from the present controversy swirling around Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor and Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Mohd Johari Baharom, the most glaring failure involved Jasin MP Datuk Mohd Said Yusof.
Even though I had lodge a report to the ACA against him for abusing his powers by asking The Customs Department "to close one eye" in enforcing the law in relation to sawn timber which he had a personal interest, no action was taken. Such failure has caused Malaysia's ranking in the 2006 Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International to slip 5 places to No. 44 from No. 39 in 2005.
Failure to check corruption would have an economic cost of frigthening away foreign investors. The government should check whether the steep drop in the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) yesterday, the highest in Asia, is caused by a variety of negative perceptions amongst them that Malaysia is not making any progress in establishing integrity, accountability and transparency.
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP