PRIME Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s firm and unequivocal stand against the scourge of corruption is laudable.
The disease is too pernicious and too widespread to leave it to the laws and respective agencies to address them.
The country has lost billions due to the corrupt practices of politicians and civil servants.
The law enforcement agencies under corrupt politicians and leaders simply lacked the will and courage to stem the tide of corruption. As corruption in its manifold ways has been allowed to be perpetrated, getting rid of this menace seems to pose a Herculean task.
Corruption, abuse of power and other related matters simple cannot be addressed on the strength and availability of laws and agencies.
These are important but we need a strong and firm leadership in the person of PM of the country to personally lead the drive against corruption.
Although the Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman has only been in office for a few weeks, there are strong and reliable indications that he has prioritised the theme of anti-corruption.
You can have all the laws, regulations and enforcement agencies, but if the top leadership is not clean, then nothing much can be done about eradicating corruption.
No lip service, please
This is why it is so important and fundamental that Anwar takes a strong and firm stand against the menace of corruption to send signals down the different layers of the government that the war against corruption has begun.
Years ago, I remember a corruption trial in the Indian Supreme Court where the presiding judge remarked that corruption cannot be eradicated if the top leadership is not clean.
Nothing can be further than this cardinal truth. This is why Anwar has to grab the bull by its horns to initiate the drive against corruption.
His stand against the corrupted in the civil service by telling them to stop their old ways before action is taken hopefully sends the chill down the spines of those who are corrupted.
Anwar’s move to stop political appointments in government-linked companies (GLCs) is another instance of praiseworthy effort.
His drive against corruption might appear patchy and disjointed but they are definitely signs of more coherent and comprehensive approach that is in the offing to stem the tide of corruption.
Opposition to Anwar’s tenure in office might have something to do with his slow but sure crackdown on corruption.
There is fear among certain politicians that Anwar’s actions might dismantle the illicit financial establishments of their cronies, families and relatives.
It is not that Anwar has a choice decide whether to crackdown on corruption or not.
The reform agenda which is integral to the unity government pre-supposes strong and determined actions against corruption and its related manifestations.
As a reformist, Anwar cannot be expected to close one eye to the evils besetting the society and nation.
There is no other appropriate time to vehemently address the scourge of corruption than the present especially under the leadership of Anwar.
Malaysia simply cannot afford another round of blatant corruption. It has seeped to the deepest layers of the society. – Jan 1, 2023
Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is the state assemblyman for Perai. He is also Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.
Main pic credit: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim