Wednesday, April 04, 2007

110] Corruption in veins of body politics

Corruption in veins of body politic
Azly Rahman
Mar 5, 07 12:05pm

Hai orang-orang yang beriman, makanlah di antara rezeki yang baik yang Kami berikan kepadamu dan bersyukurlah kepada Allah, jika benar hanya kepada-Nya kamu berserah (Al-Baqarah:172).

This comes from the website of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), whose slogan is Tingkatkan integriti, Hapuskan rasuah.

I am tired of contradictions. And of slogans. The nation is tired of them too.

Who but the ACA can we turn to report corrupt people, corrupt practices? We have become a pathetic nation made helpless by the revelations we are reading daily. Things are falling apart.

Yet we have a general election coming - one in which even the Election Commissions itself cannot claim to be independent. How many dozen ‘Royal Commissions’ of Inquiry have we asked to be set up since Independence to help us uncover truths - how many have materialised?

We no longer have any shame as a nation. Even worse, we still vote for vultures.

Corruption runs in the veins of the body politic - in business, politics, religion, education, culture, etc. Even in our mind. Even in our language.

Consider the Approved Permit issue, the half-bridge to Sinagpore, the ECM Libra-Avenue Capital merger, you name it...we do not know where these cases are going. History tells us that we will not see consequences, nor see anyone resigning voluntarily. We do not have any shame. Unlike the Japanese.

Even our universities are seeing corrupt practices. We see students thrown out for speaking up, academicians axed for taking a stand, lecturers made to feel good about how moral and benevolent the government is, and how academic-cronyism is taking shape.

Conferences in public universities are about discussing feel-good themes, presenting papers to make feel-good communalistic ideologies feel elevated, and going into academic detail of how to parrot government propaganda better. How do we expect to produce critical thinkers among graduates when critical analyses about our society are seldom produced and presented. From our public universities to our think tanks, we see lethargy in the way we view society and politics.

Our consciousness has been corrupted by the fear, fantasy and fetish we have structured into our mind though a funneling process of depthlessness of thought. Only if we had the Malaysian version of the great Argentine medical-doctor turned social messiah, Che Guevara, as education minister, We would see true transformation of the education to fight corruption of the soul, mind, and flesh.

Experience with ACA

Two years ago, I wrote a letter to the ACA head calling for an investigation into possible corrupt practice and abuse of power of the administration of Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM). I asked for investigation into the nature of promotion of academic staff and how personal preferences are made, and into the composition of committees responsible for dismissal.

I wanted to know what transpires during meetings and how political the decisions are. How could a committee consisting of learned men and women throw out lecturers who were merely seeking explanation of the contents of a letter that demand their kowtowing to leaders known to be abusing power? How could the higher education minister refuse to deal with the issue and allow the universities to breed fear?

I am still waiting for the ACA director-general to reply. I want him to carry out investigations. As a citizen, I have the right to know what happened in those two instances in my career.

I wanted to go this route before seeking legal help. My claim was that abuse of power had been committed in the two cases. I knew that I could not get any help from the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, prime minster nd several other ministers I had written to, requesting investigation into the political nature of the dismissals.

Like many citizens, I now do not have much trust in the ACA. I do not think the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Rulers, prime minister and elected representatives are interested in seeing UUM being investigated for corruption of power and abuse of privileges.

I do not think the government is interested in investigating how agencies like Biro Tata Negara are corrupting the minds of youth in a systematic pogrom, programme and process of closing of the Malaysian mind. I do not think these people are interested in fighting corruption. I do not know what they are interested in, for that matter.

Are agencies such as the ACA and National Integrity Institute merely interested in helping the government blind the people with the idea that corruption need to be battled?

I think we are turning into the Philippines of Marcos and the Indonesia of Suharto. Or into a Colombia. Or a Nigeria. This is frightening. Especially when the system has evolved into a corrupt one.

Our nation does not even know where to begin in dealing with this issue. People are busy making ends meet while the powerful are busy satisfying their greed.

What then must we do? Dare we dismantle this system entire?

I am tired of contradictions and slogans. So is the nation.

1 comment:

Wintermute said...

In Timothy Mo's interesting, if occasionally scatological, novel set in Manila, 'Brownout on Breadfruit Boulevard' the White/Chinese hybrid, Oxonian author wonders whether corruption in The Philippines is tolerated simply because of the peoples' honest and sincere belief that if they were in positions of power then, sure, they'd take bribes, so why criticize those officials with the same idea.

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