17
Sep
11

ANTI-BRIBERY & CORRUPTION

 

ABC4MALAYSIANS

CULTURAL ECOSYSTEM OF BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION

CONTRARY TO CURRENT VIEWS WHICH SEE CORRUPTION AS A MODERN CAPITALIST PHENOMENON, I’M OF THE VIEW THAT IT’S ALWAYS BEEN PART OF MALAYAN/ MALAYSIAN LIFE. IT WAS INHERENT IN THE FEUDAL SYSTEM OF OLD WHEN PATRONAGE WAS SOUGHT FROM THE MALAY RULERS BY FOREIGN MERCHANTS THROUGH THE MIDDLEMAN FACILITATOR OR SAUDAGAR RAJA (WHAT WE NOW TERM “RUNNER”)

  • The cultural ecosystem of bribery and corruption is handed down from the traditional system of patronage as well as from the norms of community and inter-personal relationships

THE TRADITION OF BRINGING THE “BUNGA MAS” CAN BE SEEN AS AN INDUCEMENT FOR THE “KERAJAAN” TO VIEW THE FOREIGN EMISSARIES FAVOURABLY IN ORDER TO SUSTAIN OR STRENGTHEN ECONOMIC AND PERHAPS MILITARY TIES.

AT THE LEVEL OF THE RAKYAT, ESPECIALLY AMONG TRADITIONAL MALAY SOCIETY, THE BRINGING OF GIFTS TO SEAL NUPTIAL AND FAMILY TIES WAS INGRAINED IN THE ADAT. THIS INCLUDES BRIDE-PRICE A CUSTOM INHERITED FROM INDIAN TRADITIONS – THE RICHER THE FAMILY THE MORE TO BE EXTORTED FROM THEM.

AMONG THE CHINESE, THE “ANG POW” IS A GREAT CAMOUFLAGE FOR MANY THINGS INCLUDING GRATITUDE FOR PAST FAVOURS OR INDUCEMENT FOR FUTURE ONES.

I REMEMBER AS A CHILD HOW CHINESE TOWKAYS USED TO TRUST WADS OF MONEY INTO THE POCKETS OF MY FAMILY IN GRATITUDE TO MY DOCTOR FATHER FOR SUCCESSFULLY TREATING OR OPERATING ON THEM.  ALSO THE GUNIS OF DURIANS AND OTHER FRUITS WHICH ARRIVED ALL OF WHICH WERE POLITELY AND NOT SO POLITELY RETURNED.

  • Manifested in the customary gift-bearing (buah tangan)  and ang pow giving practices  which developed into the coffee money  expected in carrying out business transactions

AMONG PEOPLE OF UNEQUAL ECONOMIC STATUS, THE GIVING OF MONETARY REWARDS OR PAYMENT IS EXPECTED INSTEAD OF A SIMPLE THANK YOU. HERE I’M NOT BEING JUDGEMENTAL BUT SEE THIS AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THE LOW ECONOMIC STATUS OF PEOPLE WHO DO THESE ODD JOBS FOR THOSE HIGHER UP IN THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC LADDER.

  • The upah or monetary reward of paying for a favour/ service done or goods delivered by people lower down in the family or community hierarchies

IN ISLAM THE CONCEPT  OF “SEDEKAH” AND “ZAKAT” IS MANDATORY AND REINFORCES THE OBLIGATION OF HELPING THE LESS FORTUNATE. UNFORTUNATELY THIS HAS TWISTED SOMEWHAT THE CONCEPT OF GRATITUDE WHICH NOW HAS A PRICE IN OUR SOCIETY.

  • Manifested in the practice of rewarding subordinates with gifts or money at the workplace

THE SYSTEM OF PATRONAGE WHICH IS DEEPLY ENTRENCHED IN MALAYSIAN SOCIETY ENCOURAGES THE DOLING OUT OF FAVOURS IN RETURN FOR LOYALTY.

  • The system of patronage in the feudal system where rulers and government grant subjects their rights in return for loyalty

I”LL BE BRIEF HERE LEST I’M NICKED BY EXTRA TERRESTIAL OOPS EXTRA TERRITORIAL FORCES BUT LET ME JUST SUGGEST THAT THE UNDERLYING BASIS OF MONEY POLITICS WHICH HAS BECOME THE BANE OF UMNO AND IS PREVALENT AMONG THE OTHER POLITICAL PARTIES TO A LESSER EXTENT IS EXACTLY THIS – THE BUYING OF PEOPLE’S LOYALTY AKA VOTES.

THE RAKYAT ARE IN TURN ASSURED OF THEIR “UPAH” OR REWARD IN THE FORM OF COMMUNITY PROJECTS AND PROGRAMMES WHICH ARE WONDERFUL IN THEMSELVES (AS THE NEP WAS) UNTIL THEY ARE HIJACKED FOR PERSONAL GAINS I.E. THEY BECOME CORRUPTED BY THE CORRUPTIBLE.

INTERESTINGLY THESE REWARDS HAVE BECOME MORE DIVERSE AND SOPHISTICATED AND ARE NOT SO EASILY DETECTED OR DEFINED AS BRIBES.

 

  • Manifested and perpetuated in the currying of favour and carrying of favours with the government in return for opportunities in the business or social life – award of projects, positions and titles

ANOTHER MANIFESTATION OF THE REWARD SYSTEM IS THE GRANTING OF STATE AND FEDERAL HONOURS, WHICH IN THEMSELVES IS INDEED HONOURABLE – TO RECOGNISE THE DEEDS AND CONTRIBUTIONS OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE WORKED SELFLESSLY FOR THE NATION. HOWEVER, IN OUR CULTURAL ECOSYSTEM THEY ARE TURNING OUT TO BE A COMMODITY YOU CAN BUY IF THE PRICE IS RIGHT – EVEN WHEN YOU HAVE NOT REALLY CONTRIBUTED YOUR BLOOD AND SWEAT TO THE NATION.

MOST OF US WILL NOT SAY IT BUT WE FEEL THAT THIS IS NOT RIGHT.  WE KNOW OF PEOPLE WHO BUY THESE TITLES AND USE THEM TO ADVANTAGE FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL GAINS. IS THIS NOT A CORRUPTED ACT COMMITTED BY BOTH THE GIVER AND RECEIVER?

  • Economic/ socio-cultural status determine corruptibility of people – as a general rule, those that do not enjoy high status would aspire to the trappings of higher socio-economic status them and therefore be gullible to giving bribes, while those with status would  be gullible to accepting bribes
  • Inequalities between people with authority and power and those without authority and power in the distribution of the country’s wealth. In some cases this has a communal basis
  • Manifested in the practice of courting goodwill and soliciting help/ assistance which in some cases have a communal basis

WE HAVE TO BE HONEST AND ADMIT THAT IN MALAYSIA THERE IS A CLEARLY RACIAL BIAS IN THE COMPOSITION OF THE CIVIL SERVICE AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR i.e. MALAY BUREAUCRATS AND A MORE RACIALLY MIXED PRIVATE SECTOR (CHINESE, INDIANS, MALAYS AND OTHERS) SOLICITING TENDERS AND LICENCES FOR THEIR BUSINESS ACTIVITIES FROM THEM.

SO IN THE ECOSYSTEM THERE IS THE CORRUPTOR BRIBER AND THE CORRUPTIBLE OR BRIBEABLE i.e THE GIVER AND RECEIVER IN ANY ACT OF CORRUPTION. SO WHO IS MORE GUILTY – THE INITIATOR OR THE INITIATED?

I”M SURE MY FELLOW PANELISTS WILL BE ANALYSING SOME OF THESE ISSUES

  • Great disparities in people’s educational status – the less educated commit  bribery and corruption which they are not aware are offences against the law

 

HERE I’M THINKING OF PETTY OFFENCES LIKE BRIBING A POLICEMAN RM50 NOT TO ISSUE A SUMMONS FOR COMMITTING A MINOR TRAFFIC OFFENCE. MOST OF THE PEOPLE I’VE ASKED INFORMALLY ADMIT THAT THEY HAVE DONE THIS. AND THEY ARE CONVINCED THEY ARE DOING THE POOR POLICE CONSTABLE A FAVOUR.

OF COURSE THE ARGUMENT IS THAT A BRIBE IS A BRIBE NO MATTER HOW SMALL!

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My basic premise then is that in Malaysia, bribery and corruption are more a way of life – ingrained in our way of life rather than the endemic or systemic scourge  they are in some countries.

However before they become institutionalised, there must be effective anti-corruption strategies to arrest their growth.

Having argued for the cultural basis of the ecosystem of bribery and corruption, I believe the ABC approach and strategy must be customised before the attitudes and values of Malaysians will change and the ABC campaign is effectively tackled.

Education & Awareness

  • Concerted and sustainable efforts to go down to the ground at all levels of the community – youth, families, religious and community groups,  neighbourhoods. Run public educational campaigns that will actively involve these groups e.g producing posters/ pictures/ paintings depicting different types of corruption
  • Initiate anti-corruption activities such as talks, forums and dialogues in schools, colleges and universities to expose students to the causes, types and consequences of corruption in society
  • Conduct education and awareness anti-corruption camps for political parties and their various wings focussing on different aspects of corruption – moral, sexual, financial – that lead to the breakdown in the political integrity of politicians and their parties, and eventually of the nation
  • Start a sustained media campaign in the newspapers, on TV and the internet on the dangers of corruption at the individual, organisational, family and community levels
  • Involve the public in fighting corruption by highlighting what they can do not just what the MACC is doing
  • Highlight the shame and embarrassment of committing the act of corruption and the legal consequences of the crime against people’s rights as citizen

Office Rules & Regulations

 

 

Transparent Processes & Procedures

 

 

Internal & External Auditing

 

 

Corporate Integrity and Anti-Corruption Pacts

 

 

Anti-Corruption Laws

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halimah Mohd Said

14 September 2011

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2 Responses to “ANTI-BRIBERY & CORRUPTION”


  1. September 27, 2011 at 1:34 am

    Hi there H. Checking in after a hiatus. Good to see the continued enthusiasm. Cheers! Fareeda

  2. 2 ninitalk
    September 27, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Hi Fareeda

    I thought I should be more regular in my postings as I’ve lost more than 70% of my readership in the past year. I think apart from being spoilt for choice on the Net, readers prefer hard-hitting political blogs where they too can express themselves more enthusiastically. Sedate ones like ours are not too popular but – no matter kan?

    Halimah


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