One reason the anti-corruption battle is a flop is because the government’s Integrity Management Committee in the past five years existed only in name, coming alive only for the gala of conventions, empty speeches and media glitz once a year before returning to its annual hibernation
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The New Straits Times blazoned its front-page today with the headline “All-out war on corruption” and secondary headline “Plugging loopholes: Integrity Management Committee to help wipe out menace”, reporting the speech of the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Samsudin Osman in Kuching yesterday that the government is “determined to wipe out corruption in the civil service” and that the Federal Government will use all laws and regulations in its war against the menace.
Speaking at the
closing of the two-day Integrity Management Committee Convention, Samsudin
Osman said the Integrity Management Committee, formed in 1998, would be
fully utilised to ensure that there were no weaknesses in existing laws and
procedures, which were believed to have given opportunities to government
officers to be involved in corruption.
I bet that if an opinion poll is conducted as to which New Straits Times front-page headline – or of all newspapers - wins the prize in evoking the most skepticism and cynicism, it will be difficult to beat the NST front-page headline story today!
One reason the anti-corruption battle is a flop is because the government’s Integrity Management Committee in the past five years existed only in name, coming alive only for the gala of conventions, empty speeches and media glitz once a year before returning to its annual hibernation.
Malaysians can still remember the solemn promise made to Parliament in July 1997 when the Anti-Corruption Bill was debated, that the government would launch an all-out war against corruption, as "Now is the time to act…we will catch the big ones and we will catch the small ones".
What is the track record the Integrity Management Committee, formed in 1998, to help fulfill the government pledge to act against the “ikan yus” and “ikan bilis” in the past five years? Apart from the annual rhetorics, the Integrity Management Committee has nothing to deliver as its report card is totally blank!
If the Integrity Management Committee is not a “paper tiger”, Malaysians would not be shocked at its inaction at two current scandalous examples of corruption, abuse of power or criminal breach of trust - the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ) advertising billboard scandal where advertising companies are required to make contributions of at least RM10,000 for each billboard to the MPPJ Sports Club and the long-standing allegations of multi-million ringgit logging concession to UMNO Pahang five years ago under the then Pahang Mentri Besar and now Information Minister and UMNO Secretary-General Tan Sri Khalil Yaakob, as reported by the recent exclusive Malaysiakini series.
Probably the greatest contribution the Integrity Management Committee could make to the anti-corruuption war is to make public the reasons and causes as to why it had been such a failure to instill integrity in the public services in the past five years, which could be an object lesson for all, whether in government or outside, as a sort of benchmark as to what to avoid if the next five years are not to be another “Five Wasted Years in the War Against Corruption”.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman