We, members of G25, are heartened to see the rising tide of citizen initiatives taken by various groups to make Malaysians aware of the pernicious culture of corruption. This social evil has grown to be deeply entrenched in our society and poses a threat to our democracy and the economy.
We applaud the launching of the Anti-Corruption Revolution Movement and the 3J (Jangan Hulur, Jangan Kawtim, Jangan Settle) campaign to educate the public on the importance of integrity and honesty. The personal involvement of the new MACC Chief Commissioner Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad in these campaigns and his brave statements have set a sense of urgency and purpose in going after the corrupt. Our government must allow the MACC to charge those implicated, and the recent arrests are indicative of his commitment to live up to his words. These developments have contributed to raise public confidence in the fight against corruption.
The fight against corruption must also be addressed at the political level to ensure free and fair elections so that those elected to represent us in Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies are individuals of good character, free from unethical practices that make them hostage to corruption when they hold office and positions of power. There should be a process in every political party to ensure that candidates standing for elections meet the criteria for honesty and integrity before submitting their names for the elections. This will be in line with the call from the MACC that UMNO should set an example for political parties to refrain from corruption and abuse of power in the coming elections. Under no circumstances should politicians be spared from appropriate action at this very critical junction. Otherwise it will certainly seem selective and only undermine the credibility of this commendable new surge.
As money politics is the source of high level corruption, it is hoped that the recommendations of the technical committee set up by the government to review the law on financing of elections, together with the proposals by G25 and the coalition of 70 NGOs will be enacted into legislation to lessen the pressure on business contributions and ensure fair elections. When politicians indulge in illegal money politics to win the elections, they tend to get sucked into a web of intrigue and deceit, from which they find it difficult to get out. Consequently, the country suffers from a bad reputation with regard to good governance as seen in our unfavourable ranking in the world Corruption Perception Index. Time is of the essence as elections are anticipated to be held soon, and these proposals must be implemented in a substantive and comprehensive manner to make the process credible and respectable in the eyes of our people and the world.
Recently, the Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4) launched its e-platform to enable ordinary people to be the ears and eyes of the MACC in reporting those they suspect are living beyond their means. Citizen participation will help the MACC investigate more cases, especially involving those in positions of power. It is essential that government servants who make the reports against their superior officers are protected from harassment such as being charged under the Sedition Act 1948 and the Official Secrets Act 1972. The Whistleblowers Act 2010 should not merely exist as window dressing. It is imperative that it be reviewed as soon as possible so as to remove the restrictions to the kind of information that whistleblowers are allowed to disclose and to whom they can disclose.