Even tow truckers and funeral parlour operators bribe the authorities for info

Letter to Editor

PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim hit the nail on the head when he said that the cost of living is the result of corruption and cartels.

He is right to say that the public is keeping a close eye and more willing to report any form of corruption because we have reached a level that we can no longer tolerate the culture of paying bribes.

It is time for business people to step forward to highlight their complaints if there is any attempt to squeeze them for money. After all, no business person with a right frame of mind will be happy to pay bribes if they can avoid doing so.

It is those with connections who are willing to pay bribes in order for them to monopolise the market.

Such cartels, I believe, exist in almost every sector of our economy, and not necessarily confined to only powerful industry cartels.

For example, tow trucks and funeral parlour operators are known to be collaborating with some policemen or hospital staff who will channel information to them.

I find them a big nuisance as the grieving party is often too busy to entertain their incessant ‘sales’ gimmicks.

If the authorities are keen to put a stop to their menaces, they should just put some plainclothes officers to pretend to be relatives of the deceased – and the rest as they say I history.

“Kita Jaga Kita”

Cartels and corruption go hand-in-hand yet I wonder if this is what PAS president Tan Sri Hadi Awang once meant when he said, “Corruption is not under hudud because it is a matter of willing giver and willing taker”.

With the availability of social media platform these days, people are willing to broadcast whatever they have captured on video. Illegal logging, for example, is condemned, with further retaliation against the ordinary rakyat getting more brickbats from the public.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, people have become desperate because their livelihood has been affected. When people are desperate, they are more willing to take their voice their frustrations on TikTok just to get the attention of the people in the corridors of power.

“Kita Jaga Kita” (we care for each other) – whoever coined the phrase – has made a tremendous impact on our Malaysian society. For the first time, people could see how ordinary the rakyat like you and I are able to lend a helping hand to flood victims while politicians were enjoying their expensive holiday overseas.

It is also heartening to see that race or religion no longer become a barrier when humanitarian aid is offered. This is the Malaysian spirit on the ground which is very much alive today!

Nobody accused the Christians of trying to proselytise the Muslims when practical help was offered. Even the Tzu Chi and the Sikhs did whatever they could during the Sri Muda flood when government agencies with all the huge budgets should have been the ones carrying out the task.

The recent landslide in Batang Kali shows that these men in uniform themselves were ready to give of their lives to rescue the victims. They deserve the honorifics often given to politicians who do not deserve them.

I wonder if the Sultan of Selangor would pick some of them to be given at least a title befitting their willingness to work extra hours to rescue whoever was still alive back then.

Peaceful protests

In recent years, I have noticed that people are also bolder when they speak up against corruption using a simple platform like TikTok and Youtube.

This is because they have seen how the rich have become richer while the poor are spiralling down in an inescapable poverty abyss.

We should be grateful that most Malaysians regardless of race and religion subscribe to peace rather than bloodshed when they demand for change.

Only certain politicians are still trying to play up racial and religious sentiments in order to destabilise the country’s administration so that they can continue to seize power and cover up their own corrupt practices.

We see this happening even today despite the suggestion to form a unity government came directly from the palace.

From my observation, when Lady Justice decides that her turn has come to take to the centre stage, cash is no longer king. The change of government at the end of last year brought along with it the long-awaited PM in Anwar with his unity government having brought cheer to Malaysians and the international community.

We are expecting that it doesn’t matter whoever is in power, there is no more room for corruption because the rakyat is watching closely. We are all ready to weed out corruption to the core.

Combat corruption to its core

Corruption can happen only when there are still runners operating on behalf of the corrupt public servants.

Many of these people can be easily identified based on some observations. When Ali, Ah Kow or Muthusamy walk into the licensing department of a local council – and everyone greets them like celebrities – this should raise the red flag.

Why? Because people applying for a license would encounter all sorts of challenges just to obtain it.

With the upcoming Chinese New Year celebration, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should set up undercover teams to nab traffic police manning roadblocks who are on the take.

It is not difficult to catch the culprits red-handed. If they are able to do it in Africa, there is no reason why MACC officers complain that they are unable to carry out Operation Sting.

The public is just frustrated that when they offer to provide tips, the evidence is often dismissed as ‘not concrete enough’ and an entire file would then be classified as “NFA” (no further action) when the MACC – acting on public info –is armed with the power of investigation to carry out a thorough investigation. – Jan 8, 2023

Stephen Ng
Kuala Lumpur

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

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