Call on mass media in Malaysia to play an important role in the all-out war against corruption and to build a culture of public integrity


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Friday):
The mass media must play an important role in the all-out war against corruption if the drive launched by the Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim with the approval of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is not to fizzle out to join the long list of failures of anti-corruption campaigns in the rest of the world.

The press can play two important roles in the all-out war against corruption: firstly, embarking on investigative journalism by exposing corruption in the public service; and secondly, spearheading a national awareness campaign about the seriousness of the all-out war against corruption to create a new culture of public integrity with zero tolerance for corruption.

In this connection, the Berita Harian should be commended for its editorial today, under the heading "BPR mantapkan agenda bersih rasuah", which states:

I would urge mass media in Malaysia to devise a specific strategy to play an active role in the all-out war against corruption and to help create a new culture of public integrity in Malaysia.

May be, they can start by devoting a full page in each day’s newspaper to the issue of an all-out war against corruption.

Secondly, as part of the national effort to create a culture of public integrity with zero tolerance for any form of malpractices, the press can set an example by discontinuing practices which may be deemed undesirable in the light of such a culture - even though it would mean certain financial losses for the newspapers.

In the past few days, for instance, newspapers have been carrying full-page advertisements by commercial companies congratulating Datuk Abu Hassan Omar on his appointment as the new Selangor Mentri Besar and Datuk Megat Junid Megat Ayub as the new Minister for Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs.

Such full-page newspaper advertisements by commercial companies on the appointment of a Cabinet Minister or a state Mentri Besar may not be healthy and should probably be discontinued - so as not to create invidious situations in the future relationship for the both parties involved.

I would urge the Acting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the Cabinet and the ACA to give this idea serious consideration.

The country should begin to think of the desirable practices which should be encouraged and undesirable practices which should be discontinued in order to create a culture of public integrity with zero tolerance for corruption.

(20/6/97)


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong