ZAHID: GO DIGITAL TO CURB GRAFT
Embracing IT solutions can deter abuse of power, DPM tells Immigration Dept
THE Immigration Department has been ordered to increase the use of digital technology and online services in its daily operations.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said yesterday this was to make it more difficult for corruption to take root in the department.
He said the move would not only deter corrupt practices among Immigration officers, but also stakeholders.
“It is not that we want to stop direct interaction between (the department) and customers.
“But there is a need to switch the way we are doing things from conventional to online, as not only is this easy and convenient, it can deter graft and abuse of power.
“For instance, the Immigration Department has implemented an online system for employers to register their illegal foreign workers. Of course, there are teething issues at the early stage, and this is inevitable.
“(But) I see that (digital) technology can be an important tool to combat corruption,” he said at a ceremony where Immigration Department officers took the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) CorruptionFree Pledge.
Led by director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali, hundreds of Immigration officers and staff took their oath before Zahid and MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki.
The department’s representatives in other states and those posted abroad also took the oath, which was broadcast live via Skype.
Zahid, who is also home minister, urged the department to not only take the pledge, but to translate the pledge into action.
“We have to constantly remind ourselves, myself included, to say ‘no’ to corruption.
“With strong commitment and high morals, this can be done.
“I know it is not easy due to many temptations, but this can be done if we make it a culture to reject corruption,” he said.
Zahid also pledged to support the department as long as its officers continued to show their commitment to fighting corruption.
“Being in the department, the officers have to deal with various parties, including contractors, vendors and suppliers.
“I urge the officers not to be influenced by sweet talk and big offers, as this may be a trap. So don’t fall into their trap.”
On another matter, Zahid lauded the department’s continuous operations to arrest illegal immigrants and errant employers.
He said, despite ongoing operations, there would always be a negative perception of the government and its agencies.
“For instance, even though the crime index has decreased, there is no increase in positive perception of the police.
“I hope this won’t happen to the Immigration Department and the MACC,” he said.
Zahid added that efforts to combat corruption should not be left to MACC, as every party must play its part.
“We should also praise the MACC’s high commitment to addressing corruption in the public sector, whether it involves small fish or big fish.
“We should also praise MACC’s actions in restoring the people’s faith in the commission,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi showing the corruption-free pledge signed by Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali (left) in Putrajaya yesterday. With them are Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed (second from right) and MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki.