KUALA LUMPUR: The government must address issues pertaining to integrity to fight corruption, says Transparency International-Malaysia president Datuk Akhbar Satar.
“Sometimes, you can have the best plan, drafted by experts, but if those who are in charge of procurement or financial related activities have no integrity, there is no point in having the best plan,” he said today.
“I have always pointed out that we must address the issue of integrity first. If we can rectify the integrity problem, we do not need a complicated plan.”
From 2013 to May last year, Akhbar said 55.2 per cent of corruption convictions involved young adults.
He said a scientific study was needed to identify the root cause of the integrity problem; whether it was parenting, upbringing, social economy or education.
He lauded the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP), but said its implementation was more crucial.
He said the previous government had implemented various plans to eradicate corruption, and yet corruption was still on the rise.
“We had the National Integrity Plan and the Government Transformation Programme to fight graft.
“Nonetheless, the rate of corruption is still high. It shows that all those programmes have failed.”
He said strong political will was needed to ensure the success of NACP
“I think we already have it. Our prime minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) is very concerned about corruption.
“The ministers must also do the same by showing a good example through their leadership at their own ministries.”
Akhbar said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had done its job well.
“They investigate without fear or favour, which is good.”
However, Akhbar said public support was lacking.
“We need full support from the public to fight corruption, particularly in willingness to forward information to MACC,” he said.
Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism executive director Cynthia Gabriel also stressed the importance of political will.
“It’s the first time Malaysia has a roadmap to reduce corruption.
“We congratulate the government on this first and important step.
“But, to make it work, the government needs to show tremendous political will to adopt zero tolerance to graft,” she said.
On Tuesday, Dr Mahathir launched NACP as a warning to all to steer clear of graft.
He said the fight against corruption would involve not only bringing offenders to justice, but also ensuring that mistakes were not repeated.
He also vowed that stern action would be taken against those involved in graft, which included the practice of civil servants being paid to provide special treatment to certain individuals, or looking the other way when wrongdoings were committed.
He said the execution of the 115 initiatives in NACP, which aimed to rid Malaysia of corruption, would require the involvement of all – from himself to kindergarten teachers.