Bribery: Who to be blamed, the actors or system?

FLOODGATES were recently opened when Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md recently claimed that more non-Muslims get arrested for offering and receiving bribes compared to Muslims.

Bribe – giving or taking – is aptly described by Persian religious philosopher ʻAbdu’l-Bahá as “How foolish and ignorant must a man be, how base his nature, and how vile the clay of which he is fashioned, if he would defile himself with the contamination of bribery, corruption and perfidy towards the state! Truly, the vermin of the earth are to be preferred to such people!”

Truly, if this is what is to be stated about giving or taking bribe then it does not matter whether he is a Muslim or non-Muslim, as both are evil ones of Malaysia.

There are no statistical data available as to how many are performing these acts quietly, unreported while only few are caught and charged.

So, the question of how many Muslim or non-Muslim involved in this vile act is subjective. We should condemn in the strongest term all Malaysians who are taking or giving bribe rather than saying one religious group is the cause for bribery.

Bribe is bribe, whether the person is giving or taking, and blaming the ‘giver’ against the ‘taker’ seems to suggest that the ‘giver’ created the ‘taker’ and thus one is an angel and the other, the devil.

As Muslims makes up the majority of the civil service, it seems to suggest that the ‘takers’ are the Muslims and ‘givers’ are the non-Muslim.

We should stop this blame game dichotomy of ‘giver’ or ‘taker’ which also seems to suggest that the ‘giver’ is the greater evil and the ‘taker’ is the lesser evil – both are scums of the society and are equally responsible for beating the weak and fragile system and processes that are anything but transparent.

There is an argument that the ‘taker’ wants a bribe for work to be approved or done and so the ‘giver’ should not be blamed, while a counter argument suggests that the ‘giver’ tempts and creates the ‘taker’ to expedite the process or any challenges that stand in their way.

Had the proper system and processes be very transparent at all levels in the first place, these acts of giving and taking will not have been a problem.

Alas, the absence of transparency at all levels are the cause for bribery. Having said that, who is to be blamed, considering how the givers and takers are mere human beings of flesh and blood who are bound to err if they are not truly embedded with their respective religious values.

But then again, it doesn’t come as a surprise that there are hypocrites who claim to be religious would end up on this path because of the ‘base instinct’ which often manifests itself given the right opportunity.

Ultimately, it is the creator of the system and processes that are far from transparent that should be blamed.

While we cannot completely wipe out bribery, we can minimise it to a threshold which will bot affect the country’s image that is reflected in the international standard index.

Just as long as the country does not categorise these evil-doers racially and glorify one evil-doer over another, we are in the correct trajectory path in rectifying the weak and fragile system that has become the playground for both the ‘giver’ and the ‘taker’ of bribes. – July 13, 2023


Tamil Maran (KT Maran)

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Main pic credit: The Sun

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