Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam

KUALA LUMPUR: The government needs to plug loopholes that can lead to civil servants capitalising and abusing their positions for personal gain.

Efforts to fight corruption should be on the same scale as poverty eradication, said former senior civil servant Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam.

“The government eradicated poverty regardless of background and this should be emulated when combating corruption. It should be eradicated regardless of position,” said Ramon, who is also the chairman of the Centre for Public Policy Studies at the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute.

He said this should be a clarion call for the government to fight corruption more seriously because it would not be effective if only senior civil servants were caught, and corporate and political leaders were let off the hook.

The former Transport Ministry secretary-general said the entire system needed to be revamped to fight corruption more aggressively, as failing to do so would lead only to “leaks, cracks and breakdown” in the public service, which was the backbone of the government administration.  There must be a comprehensive, concerted and collective approach, otherwise the country would go down the drain, he said.

Ramon hoped next week’s 2017 Budget tabling would introduce incentives to place
spies in agencies to report on
corrupt officials.

“Spend a little more, but the potential savings could be greater. The people will have more confidence in the government as they know their taxes are better spent than wasted on corruption and inefficiency.”

Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa on Sunday said the public should not regard all civil servants as corrupt because of the involvement of a few individuals in malpractices.

Ramon agreed with Ali’s statement, saying: “One swallow does not make a summer. You cannot paint the whole civil service as corrupt because of malpractice committed by the few.”

Transparency International Malaysia president Datuk Akhbar Satar said the crackdown by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on graft in the public sector should be extended to other cases.

“MACC must look at all aspects of corruption law, including living beyond means, under Section 36(3) of the MACC Act 2009 and anti-money laundering act as this will deter others from being involved in corrupt practices.” 

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