Transparency International, a Berlin-based NGO, ranks India as the eighth most corrupt country in the world.
Narayanan said: "Sheer opportunism and valueless power-politics have taken over the place of principles and idealism that had been the hallmark of our social and political life.
"A social movement or a widespread national movement is needed to cleanse the system."
Gujral said: "We have to build a mass movement in which all can join so that corruption in politics, politicians and public life must end. It is eating into the country's vitals like termites."
It is a very sad and painful for Asians to see the deterioration of public integrity in India, to the extent that Gujral had publicly admitted that corruption had permeated every aspect of life and that the "canker" was so deep that the state was helpless in countering it.
India’s Home Ministry recently introduced in Parliament a report compiled by senior officials including the head of India’s internal and external intelligence agencies, which largely corroborated the pervasive nature of corruption.
Recently, the Malaysian Government announced an all-out war against corruption, promising that the time has come not only to catch the "small ones" but also the "big ones".
It is important that the Government should show that it has the political will to carry through a serious anti-graft campaign, and in particular to mobilise national citizenry support as advocated by India’s President and Prime Minister to create a new culture of integrity in politics and public service with zero tolerance for corruption.
Transparency International’s 1997 Corruption Perception Index ranking for Malaysia, which slipped from 26th place in 1996 to 32nd place should be a salutary reminder to Malaysian leaders and people firstly, that Malaysia’s corruption ranking in the world is most unsatisfactory, and secondly, that Malaysia should have the vision and the capability to aim to become one of the world’s ten least-corrupt nations.
Let us not follow the footsteps of India which on its 50th Independence anniversary seems completely lost in a sea of corruption. Let us on our 50th anniversary reach a new national and international height where we are acknowledged as among the ten least corrupt nations in the world.
For this positive reason, corruption should be a main concern for all Malaysians when we celebrate our 40th National Day Anniversary at the end of the month.