NE­GRI GOES ALL OUT AGAINST COR­RUP­TION

MACC can­not do it alone, needs the sup­port of peo­ple, state govts

New Straits Times - - Opinion - xydee@me­di­aprima.com.my The writer, a for­mer as­sis­tant news editor of ‘Busi­ness Times’, is NST’s Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan bureau chief

THE Malaysian An­ti­Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion (MACC) is on a na­tion­wide cam­paign to get the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors to pledge their com­mit­ment to zero cor­rup­tion.

Pre­vi­ously called the Cor­po­rate In­tegrity Pledge, the now vol­un­tary vow has been re­named Cor­rup­tion Free Pledge and MACC has been on a road­show na­tion­wide to per­suade gov­ern­ment agen­cies, state gov­ern­ments and pri­vate com­pa­nies to sign the pledge.

It is im­per­a­tive for the coun­try to crack the whip on cor­rup­tion as de­creed by Yang di-Per­tuan Agong Sul­tan Muham­mad V when open­ing the fifth term of the 13th Par­lia­ment at the De­wan Rakyat re­cently. His Majesty had ex­pressed his dis­ap­point­ment as mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion, cor­rup­tion and leaks of con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion in­volv­ing civil ser­vants and for­mer civil ser­vants still per­sist.

MACC, on its part, has re­sponded, mak­ing a slew of ar­rests in­volv­ing pub­lic ser­vants with the lat­est ar­rest of a Jo­hor ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil­lor over a hous­ing and land scan­dal in the state.

Ear­lier this month, Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan be­came the lat­est state to make the pledge to be­come cor­rup­tion-free and ex­pressed its com­mit­ment to serve the peo­ple to the best of its abil­ity.

Ne­gri is the fourth state in the coun­try to make such a pledge af­ter Sarawak, Kedah and Malacca. Men­teri Be­sar Datuk Seri Mo­hamad Hasan said the state was com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that the state ma­chin­ery at all lev­els was clean to win the peo­ple’s con­fi­dence and sup­port.

“Rest as­sured, this pledge will en­sure that Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan is clean and cor­rupt-free, mak­ing it the core of our poli­cies across all lev­els of the ad­min­is­tra­tion from the very top to the very bot­tom,” said Mo­hamad while lead­ing his ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil mem­bers dur­ing the oath tak­ing.

He said prior to this, nu­mer­ous agen­cies and de­part­ments in the state had made sim­i­lar pledges but this is the first time that the apex of the state ad­min­is­tra­tion was do­ing so.

It is im­por­tant for Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan, and all states for that mat­ter to make such a pledge to en­sure that the faith, con­fi­dence and sup­port of the peo­ple are pre­served.

Ram­pant cor­rup­tion will have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on any ad­min­is­tra­tion and its im­pact can be far­reach­ing. Bear in mind, cor­rup­tion will also lead to leak­ages and wastage of funds, which are orig­i­nally meant for the peo­ple.

MACC Chief Com­mis­sioner Datuk Dzulk­i­fli Ah­mad said the graft-bust­ing agency could not do it alone and needed the sup­port of the peo­ple, as well all state gov­ern­ments, to nip cor­rup­tion in the bud be­cause if not, the hopes of the peo­ple would be dashed and their trust in the ad­min­is­tra­tion would be be­trayed.

“This vow will in­stil a sense of own­er­ship and re­spon­si­bil­ity,” Dzulk­i­fli said.

On MACC’s part, this is a good ef­fort to foster close re­la­tions and beef up ex­ist­ing col­lab­o­ra­tions with state gov­ern­ments and even­tu­ally make them cor­rup­tion-free.

In fact, all pub­lic ser­vants should take the pledge as these are the very of­fi­cials who re­ceive in­for­ma­tion from the pub­lic and, thus, the temp­ta­tion is very high, en­tic­ing some of­fi­cials.

Thus, it is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of all state gov­ern­ments to erad­i­cate the scourge as his­tory has proven in the past that cor­rup­tion can bring down em­pires and gov­ern­ments.

As for Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan, the state ad­min­is­tra­tion will stop work­ing in si­los and go down to the field more, to of­fer the best ser­vices to the peo­ple.

The state has also iden­ti­fied that too much bu­reau­cracy and red tape are the lead­ing causes of cor­rup­tion.

This is be­cause the red tape or “check­points” pro­vide the per­fect op­por­tu­ni­ties be­tween the pub­lic ser­vant and the ap­pli­cant or the cus­tomer to “set­tle” the mat­ter be­fore the trans­ac­tion moves on to the next step.

The Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan gov­ern­ment has also found that less in­ter­ac­tion be­tween pub­lic ser­vants and cus­tomers in the state can lower the cor­rup­tion rate.

To­wards this end, the state is go­ing all out to boost its on­line ap­pli­ca­tions such as e-com­plaints, e-pay­ment and oth­ers.

This is the state’s in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy pol­icy and stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dure, and all steps must be ad­hered to by ev­ery­one who has deal­ings with the state gov­ern­ment. If an ap­pli­cant fails in one of the steps or pro­cesses, the whole trans­ac­tion will be re­jected.

Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan re­ceived a lot of in­vest­ment pro­pos­als from lo­cal and for­eign in­vestors, and it some­times wel­comes for­eign trade mis­sions.

The state gov­ern­ment has changed all that by lay­ing out all the in­vest­ment guide­lines on its web­site for in­vestors as part of its en­deav­our to be­come trans­par­ent and cor­rup­tion-free.

Ram­pant cor­rup­tion will have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on any ad­min­is­tra­tion and its im­pact can be far-reach­ing. Bear in mind, cor­rup­tion will also lead to leak­ages and wastage of funds, which are orig­i­nally meant for the peo­ple.

BER­NAMA PIC

Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan Men­teri Be­sar Datuk Seri Mo­hamad Hasan (sec­ond from right) lead­ing his ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil mem­bers in mak­ing a cor­rup­tion-free pledge at Wisma Negeri in Serem­ban on March 8. With them is Malaysian Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion Chief Com­mis­sioner Datuk Dzulk­i­fli Ah­mad (right).

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