WE HAVE long grumbled that there should be stronger and swifter action against high-ranking officials who use their positions for personal gain instead of serving the public interest.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) ongoing streak of arrests and court cases involving senior officers in civil service and the private sector is encouraging, but even that may not satisfy the cynics, who are likely to point out that there are plenty more big fish out there and that there is no sign of a decline in corruption and abuse of power.
That is an easy thing to do – blame others when things do not go well and then expect the corruption fighters to clean up a huge and complex mess. But it surely cannot be the only thing we are capable of doing.
The MACC has a suggestion: to join the “revolutionary movement” against corruption.
That sounds like a lot of work, but Gerakan Revolusi Anti-Rasuah (Gerah) is actually a nationwide awareness campaign to change how people view corruption and abuse of power.
The ultimate aim is to enlist the support of the people in the war against corruption by shaping society to “hate, reject and fight corruption”.
“Our intention is to create a sense of fear and uneasiness so that wrongdoers will feel the heat. They should, for they are gambling away the peace, security and harmony of society, as well as jeopardising the country’s growth,” MACC chief commissioner Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad told Sunday Star.
The commission will mobilise 2,000 officers from all over the country to meet the people and foster closer rapport and cooperation.
This is not a mere public relations exercise. Efforts to stamp out corruption cannot just focus on those who take the money.
In treating corruption and abuse of power as the country’s No. 1 enemy, we also have to acknowledge that we are partly responsible for sustaining this enemy.
Every time we offer a bribe, refuse to be a whistleblower or blithely dismiss corruption as “the Malaysian way”, we are strengthening the very thing that threatens to choke our nation’s development.
It is therefore fitting that Gerah incorporates the month-long 3J campaign, which the MACC launched on Monday in a partnership with Star Media Group Bhd.
The 3J name is shorthand for “Jangan Hulur, Jangan Kawtim, Jangan Settle”, which means “Don’t Give and Don’t Settle”.
It is a clever use of colloquial words that are synonymous with corruption, and there is little chance of misunderstanding the intent of the campaign.
“We hope this will pave the way for people to say no to corruption and create a society that has the courage to stand up and fight not only against corruption, but the corruptors,” said Dzulkifli at the launch.
Here is our choice: Be part of the “revolutionary movement” or do nothing and yet expect life to be better.
Source: Stay Say
Top zakat official among 11 held
GEORGE TOWN: A high-ranking Datuk from Pusat Zakat Negeri Pulau Pinang (ZPP) has been accused of misappropriating tithe money, including approving an annual scholarship for one of his children.
He is also alleged to have pocketed payments from contractors as an inducement to provide them with jobs involving ZPP community programmes.
The man is among 11 people, including staff and contractors, who have been detained in a swoop by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday following an investigation that began last December.
The 50-year-old Datuk was picked up at the ZPP office in Bandar Perda, Bukit Mertajam, at 10.40am yesterday.
Three of his co-workers, including two ZPP department heads, and seven ZPP contractors were also detained in the operation codenamed Ops Miskin.
Penang MACC director Datuk Abdul Aziz Aban said the Datuk was detained on suspicion of accepting valuable items, cash and cheques from several companies and suppliers as inducements to award certain projects or works related to the state zakat community development programmes.
He added that the Datuk, who has held the position in ZPP since 1995, was believed to have also approved the annual scholarship without going through the Penang Religious Affairs Department for approval.
“We believe the four ZPP officials have been sharing the illegal payments among themselves between 2014 and 2016.
“We have been watching them since December last year,” Abdul Aziz said during a press conference at the state MACC headquarters here yesterday.
Wide net: MACC officers escorting Penang Tithes Management Centre personnel to the court in George Town to obtain their remand order.
Every Muslim with a certain amount of wealth is required to give zakat or alms to the poor and needy.
Abdul Aziz said the seven contractors, aged between 41 and 52, were believed to have often received projects or tenders from ZPP with the help of the Datuk.
He declined to elaborate on the amount of money seized in the operation, saying that it would be revealed after the investigation had been completed.
Apparently, the amount collected by the suspects totalled several million ringgit.
Abdul Aziz said the 11 suspects, who were remanded for a week, would be investigated under Section 17(a) and (b), as well as Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009.
“The offence carries a jail term of up to 20 years and five times the amount of bribes involved,” he added.
Earlier, the 11 were brought to the magistrate’s court here by the MACC at 3pm to be remanded.
Magistrate Mohamad Amin Shahul Hamid granted a seven-day remand, which began yesterday.