IN his opening speech at the opening of the parliamentary session, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah praised the government for implementing the National Anti-Corruption Plan to improve the Malaysia Corruption index.
The government, through the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), has made it a requirement for all companies in Malaysia to have an internal Anti-Bribery Management System by June 1, 2020. Barely a year ago, our prime minister said that he would like the media to help the government fight corruption.
Subsequently, he launched the guidelines on MACC Act Section 17A, saying that all companies must have guidelines to prevent occurrence of corrupt practices in relation to all its business activities and related operational matters.
Generally, the roots of corruption are grounded in a legacy culture.
There are two types of corrupt practices. The first (Type 1) is where bribery is being carried out with fear that their acts may be disposed or discovered. The perpetrators have the fear that they would be exposed publicly.
The other corrupt practice (Type 2) is the opposite. It is openly conducted and even institutionalised into a culture, most likely, cultivated from various episodes of successful bribery in the past. In other words, it is classified as an open secret where both or all stakeholders of the act gain equally in one way or another.
In most companies, due to the weak rule of law coupled with little enforcement, perpetrators betray their own integrity to commit bribery.
Worst still, knowing that it is a matter of time before their fraud will be discovered and exposed, they have various types of cover-ups.
Normally, there are two hiding game plans.
The first is to lure and influence colleagues and team players through various incentives that benefit them in the organisation.
The second is to play dirty tricks by forcing the resignation of those with integrity.
Undoubtedly, in the past, most bribery and corrupt practices were type 1 classifications. Unfortunately, in the past decade, the corruption level had advanced to type 2 where perpetrators worked hand-in-hand to benefit themselves.
Had there been no change or enhancement of MACC Act Sec 17A, the scourge of corruption would continue to plague us.
The media is at the forefront in assisting the government to curb corruption. It cannot be denied that the media plays a vital role as a public watchdog agency in curbing corruption through its reporting or activities in promoting good corporate governance, greater transparency and raising public awareness.
The media can report and publish articles or journals on remedies towards a corruption-free society, to encourage accountability by recommending a check and balance system in society.
To ensure equity, accountability, transparency and prevent embezzlement of funds, the time has come for Malaysians to join forces with the government to comply with MACC Act Section 17A by implementing the Anti- Bribery Management System; combat corruption, cronyism and nepotism for our future’s betterment.
CHOONG MEE FATT
Treasurer, American Universities Alumni Malaysia