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Strong determination in battling corruption

  • The public service sector is a high-risk area for corruption, especially civil servants involved in decision-making and procurement. Photo courtesy: Bernama

Sin Chew Daily

Prime Minster Tun Mahathir launched the 2019-2023 National Anti-Corruption Plan on Tuesday. The five-year plan is aimed at improving business environment, good and clean governance through upholding the rule of law and reforming the public service system in a bid to effectively combat corruption.

While launching the anti-corruption plan, PM Mahathir emphasized that the government is determined to battle corruption and punish those involved in corruption, while promising more severe punishments for individuals implicated in corruption now and in future.

It is commendable for the government to show its resolution in fighting corruption with the launch of this anti-corruption plan. However, it remains questionable whether the objectives can be fulfilled within five years.

The culture of corruption has been deep-rooted in many government institutions in this country. Some of the practices have been widely seen as gifts received for the conveniences or assistance provided, without realizing that such acts of gift acceptance actually constitute corruption and bribery.

It takes time to change the people's mentality so that the corruption-fighting initiatives will eventually pay off.

The public service sector is a high-risk area for corruption, especially civil servants involved in decision-making and procurement.

The country's excessively bloated civil service sector is the main factor for lack of effective surveillance. As a result, corruption and abuse of power have become so rampant in procurement and contract-awarding operations.

The anti-corruption plan puts a lot of emphasis on education, and will be drawing up strategies to make public procurement more transparent and effective.

Nevertheless, the government must also come to the realization that streamlining the public sector and enhancing operational efficiency are equally important to restore the dented image of the country's public sector. The government must not be afraid to overhaul the public factor just because it wants the support of civil servants in an election.

The police force is widely perceived as the most corrupt government institution. There have been endless complaints about police cops for inappropriate enforcement and demanding bribes.

The anti-corruption plan has proposed to transform Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (SIAP) into Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to address the issue of police misconduct.

In the past the police used to be resistant to the establishment of IPCMC but their attitude has now softened. For the sake of public well-being and the good image of the police force, it is imperative that IPCMC be set up as soon as possible.

One thing that we cannot afford to overlook is that money politics is still very much rampant in this country. It is absolutely necessary for the government to closely monitor political donations. Election expenses must be more transparent, and ruling parties must not make all kinds of promises with any development project in an election.

Pakatan Harapan must show a good example in fighting corruption and introduce the necessary changes in its political management practices.

To ensure the success of the anti-corruption plan, the government should form a watchdog committee made up of NGO representatives to oversee the effective implementation of every single strategy, initiative and objective, instead of making big promises without any solid action.

Do bear in mind that Malaysians are constantly evaluating the government's performance throughout the next five years.

 

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