Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low was reported to have stated at the MACC Open Day recently the Cabinet had approved a proposed amendment to the Federal Constitution to make the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) autonomous and independent of the Civil Service.

Malaysians are undoubtedly pleased to note that efforts are being made to turn the MACC into a truly autonomous and independent body in the fight against corruption.

Politicians from both sides of the political divide must give their full and unstinting support to any constitutional amendment which aims to make the MACC truly independent and effective in eradicating corruption in the country.

To ensure that our MACC is truly effective and feared by all it must be given powers similar to that of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in Hong Kong which has been known to be effective in fighting corruption.

Politicians irrespective of their political belief and ideology should unite and speak with one voice in the fight against the country’s biggest evil which is corruption.

I am certain if the objective of any constitutional amendment is to eradicate corruption in the country it will secure the support of all Malaysians.

The MACC should be commended for its efforts to tackle corruption so far and more could certainly be done to fight the scourge of corruption if it can function as an independent body and independent of the civil service.

If it is to become truly independent then the first thing to do is to relocate the MACC office outside the Prime Minister’s Complex and placed it on neutral ground.

CORRUPTION has been with us since the beginning of human organization. Yet we cannot be unconcerned and complacent about corruption because it attacks not only the economic and social fabric of society but also the moral foundations of order.

Corruption is pervasive, affecting almost every aspect of life. It manifests itself in various forms where the public interacts with the authorities.

It has been proven in many instances that an individual took bribes mainly because of greed and is presented with opportunities to commit corrupt practices. It is indisputable to state that greed is the motivating factor behind most if not all corrupt practices.

Officers involved in corrupt practices are mostly those in charge of law enforcement. To eradicate such practices all law enforcement agencies should have an internal audit and control system which can detect irregularities.

Efforts should continuously be made to instil integrity and ethical values because persons of high integrity are not likely to commit corrupt practices in whatever circumstances.

The inculcation of noble and ethical values accompanied by adherence to the oath of good governance are the most effective ways to fight corrupt practices in the civil service.

To fight corruption we need to build strong incentives which will subject corrupt practices to public scrutiny.

More needs to be done to educate ordinary citizens on how they can exercise their rights and responsibilities in society and how they can become active participants in the quest for good governance.

In particular the promotion of public awareness and civil engagement must be emphasized which would include:-

  1. An independent and vigorous media;
  2. Improving the access of citizens especially in the rural areas to information;
  3. Promoting discussions and discourses on issues of integrity and abuse of power;
  4. Develop greater civic consciousness to foster a culture of transparency, accountability and integrity among the citizens;
  5. Universities and institutions of higher learning must inculcate values of integrity among its undergraduates to change their perception that corruption is not an evil;
  6. MACC can play an important role to instill positive values in all teacher training colleges so that the teachers can pass on the good values to their future students

The fight against corruption should also begin in schools through greater emphasis on the teaching and practising of noble values among our young generation as to the need to develop a culture of honesty and integrity and to make it a way of life for our future torch bearers.

If need be introduce a curriculum in our classrooms to enable our students to be taught about the evils of corruption and why it must not be tolerated.

We cannot fight corruption effectively if we are wanting in values, morals, ethics and integrity and the incalculation of values and integrity should begin with the young when they are in schools.

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