A public scourge as damaging as bribery and corruption must be tackled with a huge public campaign!

In order to prevent the social disease from becoming endemic and destroying the heart of the nation and the soul of its people, the government must organise a structured campaign that penetrates every level of society and every nook and corner of the country.

There must be a blast of slogans and advertorials in the newspapers, on television and  online portals, billboards, posters in schools and institutions of learning, government departments and business premises, community halls and public platforms to remind the people of its dangers and ramifications. More importantly, it will be a concerted effort to educate the public on a disease which has the potential of crippling the nation and stunting its growth.

For a campaign of this stature and magnitude to work,  the government must get the cooperation of the private sector who must be made to see this as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR). The trend of handing out token cheques to charities and orphanages must go hand in hand with a cause that’s  even bigger viz rebuilding the moral fabric of society. 

If Singapore was able to launch a series of public campaigns in the late 60s running through the 70s and 80s to educate the public on aspects of their social responsibility such as fighting graft, stopping littering, helping the aged, queuing up and smiling, I don’t see why the Malaysian government cannot have the political will to do the same, albeit one generation later. A public campaign will be the hands-on measure in the government’s anti-corruption stand! It will be the walk in the talk!

The enforcement efforts of the MACC and the police will only be successful if there is widespread cooperation and acceptance from the public. Rounding up a few whistleblowers and persuading people to lodge reports on the cases of corruption and abuse of power they know of involve only a handful of people. Calls for the eradication of corruption are made by only a few concerned Malaysians. For the fight against corruption to see the desired results, the whole nation must be aroused to support the cause.

We can no longer afford to work in starts and stumbles. The public indifference and apathy must be tackled before corruption becomes entrenched in the Malaysian way of life as it is in India, Indonesia and many of the developing nations. 

The Malaysian government must have the political will! The Malaysian people must have the honesty and integrity!


12 Responses to “”

  1. 1 harum manis
    January 5, 2010 at 1:22 pm


    I support your call 100%. It’s long overdue.

    Indeed, there must be a strong political will for the campaign to start. Stronger still for the campaign to succeed.

    There may be a lot hanging on those delivering “block votes” at party elections of all political parties. But there are certainly more in the hands of those who deliver votes at general elections, votes that all political parties strive for. One is coming not too long from now – barely 2 years away. Remember, when Pak Lah went into the general elections after Tun Dr Mahathir handed over the PMship, on a “Mr Clean” and anti-corruption platform, BN won an impressive victory. The general population was fed up with corruption and endorsed a government they expected will bring about serious anti-corruption measures.

    Alas, Pak Lah’s Government degenerated into flip-flopping, auto-piloting, sleeping on the job, and, most importantly, allowing corruption to worsen, the country sliding further down on the Corruption Perception Index. The situation has not improved under the DS Najib Government.

    DS Najib has initiated moves to reduce money politics or corruption in UMNO, the quota system party election procedures being changed. But there is a strong need for more – corruption among the general populace, in the government and in the private sector. I believe he will garner a lot of votes if he aggressively launches an anti-corruption campaign – it will, like it did for Pak Lah, help him greatly in the coming general elections campaign. It will even bring him more votes than those PRU12 run-away votes that he appeared to have been busy trying to win back since coming into power.

  2. 2 ninitalk
    January 5, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    7 amanshahkhalid
    January 5, 2010 at 8:15 pm
    Thanks for your kind comments Nini.I like to write in your blog as I believe you have established a certain amount of credibility in your writings…acceptable to many intelligent readers. So like Harum Manis, I too seek your goodwill for me to “menenggek” your blog!From my experience though it is so difficult to eradicate corruption in our society, there is however, a way to do it that is if you have the will. Corruption can be reduced or totally eradicated if those at the top are clean, transparent and hands on! I know of an organisation that practises those positive traits amongst the top management. It all started when one of the top personnel was playing hanky panky and the matter was secretly reported to the then Anti Corruption Agency (ACA). The ACA acted fast and efficiently and the top personnel was caught redhanded! The drastic and positive action taken by the top management soon spread throughout the organisation including the contractors and suppliers. Nobody dares to to make a quick buck at the expense of the organisation. In Malaysia’s context the PM and Ministers must be clean and transparent. Only with those attributes ‘entrenched’ in them can Malaysia eradicate corruption!

  3. 3 harum manis
    January 6, 2010 at 7:15 am

    7 amanshahkhalid,

    Glad that you are on board. Let’s keep on talking about it before it becomes the norm of
    Malaysian society or, if it already is the norm, before it becomes a way of life, an aspect of our culture. At the very least, talking about it here, on the goodwill and kind gesture of ninitalk, will help let go our pent-up feelings and frustration against this scourge of mankind, this evil of Malaysian society.

    Hope that it will make a little dent on the thinking of other readers and that a few others might join us. It’s for the sake of our children and grandchilden and those after them. It’s for a civil and fair society called Malaysia.

    Got to go now but will get back here in due course.

  4. 4 ninitalk
    January 6, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    We must persevere harum manis and amanshahkhalid!

    If there are a couple of people who think like us in every family or social group, imagine the snowball effect the anti-corruption campaign will have. We will start small and, as you say, keep on talking about it in our networking circles.

    Insya Allah our efforts will be rewarded when some influential persons in the government, corporate sector or media pick these ideas up! Then some of us can start printing posters and brochures,T-shirts and caps to be distributed in our residential areas. Some can speak at community gatherings.

    But I’m hoping the Prime Minister and his Cabinet plus the whole BN machinery will see that this is a worthwile platform for their elections campaign. In fact it might save them from another general elections disaster!

  5. 5 ninitalk
    January 6, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    FB comments:
    Sophia Bloo Blob well said, Kak Limah *clap clap*
    however, it will not be easy and may take decades. The “close one eye” attitude is so ingrained in the Malaysian psyche when it comes to getting business projects done and certain signatures by those in power are needed.
    “You give me RMxxx and you get the project…”

    Yesterday at 7:58pm · Yang Farina Abdul Aziz Well said. Hope fully graft will be fought at the highest level.

    Yesterday at 8:31pm · Gina Shaik Daud OK Cool Aunty Halimah. So how do we go about supporting this cause?

    Yesterday at 8:43pm · Jamilah Ibrahim Great idea. Let us start with UMNO first. Leadership by example.

    Yesterday at 11:01pm · Aman Shah Khalid Agreed 150% Datin….it must start from the top, they must be brave and drop the idea of being popular and personal gains then majority in our society, immaterial of their political inclinations, will toe the line!

    9 hours ago · Din Merican Good effort. More follow up needed.

  6. 6 ninitalk
    January 6, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Halimah Mohd Said I’m hoping the government will take up the challenge and involve the media and private sector. Meantime each of us will have to start our own little campaign in our family/ workplace/ network/ community circles!

    Take it as a personal challenge too!

  7. 7 harum manis
    January 7, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Indeed, we must walk the talk, practise what we believe in ourselves. At the same time we must persuade those who don’t speak up to start doing so, and go for those who keep quiet because they are involved in corruption.

    One PhD Counsellor I knew since University days once told me that the best approach in getting one’s point across is through those with influence. What has been baffling me is how to do so when so many of such fellows are suspect in the matter of corruption. How can it be not when Tun Dr Mahathir himself spoke about a senior Cabinet Minister saying UMNO has been rotten to the core? And books like “Political Business: Corporate Involvement of malaysian Political Parties, E.T Gomez, 1995” and “Malaysia’s Political Economy: Polotics, Patronage and Profits”, E.T Gomez and Jomo K.S, 1997, spoke about irregular activities carried out by the authorities since the 1980s.

    I agree fully, support and defend efforts at re-structuring Malaysian society through affirmative action and the New Economic Policy. I can write yards about that. But I detest the hijacking of the NEP. Cronyism, nepotism and money politics of the extraordinary kind. There’s nothing wrong about the concept of the NEP; there’s a lot wrong about its implementation. Now DS Najib appears to be veering away from that, liberalising 27 sectors of the economy, on grounds of a push to the sluggish economy. But that’s another matter, perhaps another time.

    We must work towards getting that elusive political will to control and greatly reduce corruption. Any suggestions, however insignificant they may appear to be, are, to me, welcome. I do have further thoughts on this matter. We’ll talk as we go along.

  8. 8 harum manis
    January 7, 2010 at 9:48 am


    “senior Cabinet Minister” should read “former senior Cabinet Minister”.

  9. 9 ninitalk
    January 7, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    There lies the rub!

    Who among the “influential” would be prepared to initiate a public campaign when they, their family members, friends and colleagues might be implicated if there’s a national blitz? Who among the political leaders are fearless matadors who would be prepared to take the “corruption bull” by the horns in the arena with the confidence that it won’t turn around and gore them instead? I’ve been reading about slip-ups in anti-corruption campaigns in Indonesia, Nigeria and China.

    To be prepared to even speak up means one is confident one is clean! Otherwise it may backfire.
    In my experience I find that people in the corporate sector are hesitant or at least they try to qualify or explain how they operate. They never admit to giving incentives even when they blatantly do.

    In this matter I think the government machinery is at the receiving end of private financial favours, the private sector being recipients of government favours cum projects. The government officers having perfected the art of receiving without really asking; or asking in a very oblique and furtive way. The business community has finetuned the array of gifts that can be given without being easily detected. Economically it is the classic case of a win-win situation!

    So who are we to complain?

  10. January 7, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Perhaps another classic case of a win-win situation is when one appoints friendly examiners to examine his/her supervisee’s thesis, and they in turn appoint him/her to examine their supervisees’ theses. In the end the quality of theses given PhD awards may be suspect in terms of rigour and relevance, when the process contains element of you scratch my back and I scratch your. Am I opening a can of worm(s)?

  11. 11 ninitalk
    January 7, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Worms exist in every walk of life including academia! Perhaps we should adopt the French system of a public viva where the Ph D candidate can be questioned by any member of the public and she/he has to defend her/his thesis. Transparency,democracy and freedom of speech at its best!

    Or have a panel of examiners (internal/external)so that the assessment is fairer.

  12. 12 harum manis
    January 8, 2010 at 8:59 am


    Let’s open up all the cans of worms. The closets with skeletons in them, and all. In the hope that the more the public know, the less the tendency for such corruption, which, of course, is not just the taking of cash and material benefits. Also, the more the public will talk about the cranny nooks and corners that this evil breeds.

    Those taking cash and material benefits should not complain if people see dollar signs on their foreheads. They should be shunned in society, shooed away from gatherings and boycotted at social functions. No doubt, legally they are innocent until proven guilty. Sometimes one wishes the French principle of law applies in this country – guilty until proven innocent. That ours is based on English law on the supposition of innocense allows for crooked politicians and others to take in and appoint questionable characters into positions of authority. No need to go into, for example, the various analyses of of the existing cabinet when first announced. Suffice to say that many have questioned the integrity of several on the list. Such instancs allow for the propagation of corruption.

    Now back to the question of political will and people living in glass houses not throwing stones at one another. The grass-root members of political parties can kick out their corrupt leaders. The problem has been that the leaders have corrupted even the grass-root members. Cash and other benefits to delegates having the power of the vote at party elections. Credit to DS Najib for initiating changes to UMNO party election procedures. But much more needs be done. Not just in UMNO but also other political parties. It now appears that even opposition parties which loudly declaim corruption are themselves corrupt. One recent investigation case even led to the death of one said to be a witness to corrupt practices.

    Corruption has really become a terror in this country. It envelopes all, the ruling and the opposition. It used to be among businessmen and government officials. Now that politicians are very much at it as well, we must find the antidote to this serious illness. It has to be politicians taking the lead to control corruption. People’s power like that generated by Corazon Aquino in the Philippines could bring about changes. It could rid the country of corrupt leaders like Ferdinand Marcos. But it took such a long time, tons of gold said to be literally looted from the Philippine National Bank, claimed by Marcos to be from General Yamashita World War II booty hidden in the jungles. All the same, people’power and political endeavours must work concurrently to arrest this menace. Question is: who can we identify as suitable and have the will to lead such moves?

    More of my views when time permits.

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