Saturday, July 25, 2009

Public apathy makes it hard to fight corruption: MACC

PUTRAJAYA: Weeding out corruption is extremely difficult as detractors feel there is nothing wrong with the scourge while others argue that it is a necessary evil in the society.

Despite these drawbacks, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) community education division is unperturbed in its anti-corruption awareness campaign and efforts to correct the wrong perception of the people on the menace.

"Some people argue that bribes open doors of opportunities in business, politics or even to gain promotions.

"Offenders often scoff at the ill effects of corruption on the society in the long run," said MACC community education division deputy commissioner Mohd Yusoff Akope.

"It will take years before the bad effects of corruption are felt, thus making it difficult to detect the scourge in the short term," he said in an interview.

This was further aggravated by the refusal of the people to cooperate with the MACC, he added.

"Although they want us to take immediate action against offenders, they refuse to cooperate in providing the information needed. This make our efforts to fight corruption an uphill battle," he added.

Mohd Yusoff said to overcome some of these challenges, the MACC would use creative measures to attract the public to join its educational programmes to equip them with the necessary knowledge on how to weed out corruption.

"We may include sports tournaments such as bowling in the programmes to enable MACC officers to interact with participants.

"It is not easy to educate the public, we must know how to attract their attention through quality programmes to impart the knowledge they would find useful," he said.

Mohd Yusoff said the public could provide information to the MACC face to face or anonymously through telephone, letters or email at info@sprm.gov.my.

The identity of informers is protected under Section 65(1) and 65(2) of the MACC Act 2009 and will not be revealed even in court. However, they should not share the information with others.

On the face to face meeting, he said MACC officers were willing to meet information providers at their convenient times, even after office hours and on weekends.

Mohd Yusoff said the MACC community education division would update heads of departments and captains of industries on corrupt practices, systems and procedures.

"We will hold briefing sessions on corruption for private sector employees. For civil servants, we will have face to face meetings and induction courses.

"Civil servants are aware of corrupt practices but they fall into the trap as they are either tempted by the bribes or are after quick gains," he added.

Mohd Yusoff said more often than not, bribery among those in high places were not as rampant as those in lower ranks who took bribes to ease their financial burden.

He said the success of the public awareness campaign was subjective as it was difficult to measure.

"The best defence against corruption is self control," he said. - Bernama

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