Text of PM Keynote address at Transparency International Anticorruption Summit 2018.
Excellencies ladies and gentlemen.
Firstly, I would like to say thank you to Transparency International Malaysia for this invitation to deliver a keynote address at this very important conference. This conference is about corruption.And how to combat corruption.
We in Malaysia have just emerged from a period where corruption was rife. Corruption in fact became a sort of slogan for the government in power. Indeed there were allegations that the Prime Minister himself might be involved in corruption.
Now when in a country the top men is corrupt the rest will follow suit.
Because the top man is responsible for trying to combat corruption but when the top man becomes corrupt there will be no attempt to combat corruption. Indeed the slogan of that time was Cash is King.
Now when you say Cash is King what you mean is that corruption is the way. Corruption will make you the king will give you power that in itself shows the kind of government we had previously.
But the people reacted. The people may be given money bribe etcetera.Although they will receive. They receive the money but they were still much against corruption.
And so when it came to an election the 14th general election in Malaysia the people exerted their people’s power they voted out the corrupt government.
That is just the first phase.
But in order to combat against corruption the new government must have a program
on corruption or anti corruption. This is not easy because not only was money used in order to win popularity but the whole government machinery has become corrupted because they too enjoy corruptions during that period.
And so we have a machinery of government that is defective.Defective machinery of government cannot easily combat corruption.
The machinery itself needs to be cleaned up.
And so the new government which was elected with a good majority in the 14th general election having taken over power in this country had a tough time trying to combat corruption.
To combat corruption you need the current the support of everyone in particular the government machinery. But as I said just now the government machinery has become corrupted and he will not be likely
do things to combat corruption.
The cleaning up involves removal of very senior officers.
But when the senior officers are removed we have need to replace with other officer who may not be so senior who may not be as experienced and so after the cleanup we have another weak machinery of government that has to combat again old practices and the extensive corruption that was happening before.
But the machinery of government has been reorganized in particular that is a good machinery of government that is dedicated to combating corruption.
We have actually 4 different agencies now which look into various indication of corruption in the government.
However, the fact that the new government is dedicated to the removal of corruption means that that machinery of the government itself must be clean from corruption.
We all know that when the top man is corrupt then of course the others will follow suit. So in this government it is important that government personnel elected during the election must avoid corruption. So new rules have been set has been put in place in order to combat corruption among the government leaders.
They now enjoy the same power as the previous government. The previous government abuse that power and as a result of the country became corrupt at all levels.
Now new government having vowed having promised to fight corruption must show from the very beginning that the government itself is free from corruption.
The promises had been made and agencies of government have been setup.
To date we have not heard of any government offices being corrupt at least not openly.
If they hide their activities, we have agencies which will seek them out and then ensure that the corrupt will be punished.
Currently the focus is on the corruption involving the previous government but if there is any evidence at all or corruption in the new government we hope that people will indicate will be good whistleblowers to inform the authorities that there are corrupt personnel in the new government.
So far we have not heard of any report of the new members of the new government being corrupt indeed many things were put in place to prevent corruption from taking place.
Where before appointments to various agencies of government agencies were from the the party forming the government these people do not care about you implementing the work they were tasked with instead they founded the power they wielded what’s good for them to make money for themselves.
But now all those party appointed officers have been removed and new offices who are not involved in politics have been put in place in order to ensure that they will run agencies institution and companies properly.
These are professional people they are not party members and they are tasked with eradicating corruption in their organisation. Apparently this has salutary effect facts on the institutions and we now have such blatant corruption as happened during the previous government but we have to maintain it.
Government on necessity must have power without power government cannot function.
But power can be abused.
There is a saying that power corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely so we must have the power but we must avoid corruption. We invite the public the people to report cases of corruption this will not result in action being taken against the whistleblowers this is because this government respect the separation of powers within the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary.
So if any one of these agencies are reported to be corrupted then the other two agencies will function during the corrupt person to Justice. This is the promise of the new government and this so far this has been implemented because today we do not hear as much as we did about leaders of the country being corrupt. We are no longer described as a kleptocracy.
A government of Thieves but today
we are implementing democracy in the best way possible.
We have resort the rule of Law so the Law previews in all cases should be there be any abuse of power by any one of the three agencies of government which exercises power the other two can take action in order to stop the corruption.
Today we are in the process of punishing those who were corrupt before it’s not the case of the government seeking revenge but the Law there is no one who is above the Law in this country if somebody is corrupt somebody abuses power then the Law will be applied and there will be judges who are free from corruption to decide on the guilt or otherwise the people accused of corruption.
We are watching the procedures going on and I’m sure that many of those people who are found guilty will be punished for their greed when they were in power.
The government has tough job because apart from trying to deal with corruption the government also has to rule the country and for that the government needs money.
When’s members of the public decided to help the government with his finances. The government started a fund. This fund is open to everybody to contribute it doesn’t matter how much money is paid. It is speed that count more. However, there has been attempt
to use donation to this fund in order to influence government business. This has been rejected by the government because when huge sums of money are given by way of donation to the fund.
The government has to reject the huge donation because it may become a source of corruption.
There are many things that we have to do but basically we need the support of the people. The people must understand that corruption is not good for them therefore they on their part must play their role in eradicating corruption.
We will have to punish not only the receiver but also the giver.
Unless we do this corruption will be come rife in this country. Up to the moment we have found that corruption or accusation, allegation operation is not as frequent as with the last government. Maybe that is a good sign that we have succeeded in telling the people to avoid corruption but the people themselves must know that corruption is a crime and they must never try to corrupt officials in order to get approvals for whatever it is that they are asking for. This is our hope that the whole country must be dedicated toward fighting against corruption.
Corruption may be stopped by the laws of the country but the better thing is that the people themselves regard corruption as crime and you don’t get involved in corruption. This means that we must have a high standard in our value system we must reject corruption as a crime which benefits no one not even the person who’s trying to get his approval from government agencies. So we hope with that the public showing the interest in eradicating corruption and the government officers
machinery being cleaned off we hope that this will result in reducing corruption if not eliminating it all together.
Public interest is very important because we depend on the public to tell us
instances of corruption which may affect them.
After that of course our agencies, implementors will make sure that the people who are corrupt will
be punished according to the laws of this country.
The rule of law is very important in combating corruption it is only when we abide by the law of the country that corruption be reduced or ended.
I hope in this meetingon good governance and integrity for sustainable business group
would make a members of the business Community aware that although corruption may win them something but in the end they will lose because this country will not grow will not develop, prosper if corruption is rife in this country. So with this hope that I launch this Transparency International Anticorruption Summit 2018.