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Big political parties should lead in battling corruption

KUALA LUMPUR, 30 March 2009: Big political parties should take their own initiative to stamp out corruption in their respective organisations, said Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department today.

This will leave the government and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) to deal with the menace of corruption in the government service and the private sector, he added.

“As far as political parties are concerned, they should start from (within) the parties themselves to fight this problem. Once the bigger parties put their foot down on the menace, then others will also follow suit,” said Dompok, who is president of the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko), a Barisan Nasional component party.

The minister was speaking at a press conference after his keynote address at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Summit organised by the Asian Strategic and Leadership Institute (Asli) here today

He referred to the speech given by Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the just-concluded Umno general assembly where he had said the party was serious in tackling the issue.

“I think this is laudable. Lately, the question of money politics has taken centre-stage in the media due to the Umno election. What is important is that the leadership did not go into a state of denial,” said Dompok.

Earlier, in his keynote address, Dompok reiterated that the government is not in denial it has a problem on corruption, both real and perceived.

Had it been in a state of denial, the government would not have set up organisations like the Integrity Institute of Malaysia and the MACC.

Dompok said the government had no reason to be in denial of the menace as the success of all the nation’s development plans and strategies hinged on professionalism of the delivery system.

“If corruption pervades the system, then targets (of development) would not have been met, as money lost through leakages in corruption could be used for constructive purposes to address the never-ending list of infrastructure projects, long awaited by the people, especially those who live in rural areas,” he said.

On another note, he said the MACC was treading on thin ice and that it was not supposed to make statements on a certain case, be it pro or anti-government.

“They need to be professional in their duties. MACC has just been set up. Give them time to move. Give it a chance and wait and see,” he added.

He said many cynics had expressed the view that the MACC was just ‘old wine in new bottle’ but this notion was wrong as the commission had greater powers than the old anti-corruption agency.

He said the World Bank Report on the hazardous effects of corruption on the economy, estimated that leakages due to corruption accounted for five percent of the global gross domestic product, or an equivalent to RM2.6 trillion.

“This, therefore, testifies to the fact that corruption is a worldwide phenomenon and not peculiar to Malaysia,” he said.

He said Transparency International 2008 Bribe Payers Index revealed that Malaysian businesses believed their own companies were highly involved in corrupt practices, with 42% admitting to bribery of high-ranking government officials.

“It is imperative therefore, that the fight against corruption must also involve the private sector. If the private sector continues to condone this practice, then the fight will be harder and longer,” he said. — Bernama


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