Let’s all fight corruption

The upcoming Budget 2023, set to be tabled on October 7, is expected to be held under unique circumstances.

Sep 30, 2022

Corruption is not countered with silence. We must speak about it and denounce its evils. For sadly, it is the poor who pay for the parties of the corrupt. (The Star filepic)

By Patricia Pereira

The upcoming Budget 2023, set to be tabled on October 7, is expected to be held under unique circumstances.

Much hope is pinned on the national budget to resolve the many economic problems brought about by the just-abated COVID-19 pandemic, the current political instability and the inflation spike, among others.

Faced with the threat of increasing inflationary pressures, as well as the likelihood of a General Election soon, the government has to find ways to strike a balance between ensuring the well-being of the people and the country’s economic sustainability for this coming budget.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz has given an assurance that the national budget will prioritise maintaining the current economic recovery momentum, continuing reforms to improve the people’s welfare, and building resilience to ensure that we, as a nation are ready for any future challenges.

Glaringly absent is any mention about comprehensive or innovative measures to curtail corruption, the core driver of illicit trade and other unnecessary leakages to the Malaysian economy.

Nevertheless, there are calls for the prevention and elimination of corruption at all levels.

The National House Buyers Association (HBA) said that Budget 2023 needs to make homeownership affordable for the ordinary rakyat to have equity in this country. To make this possible, the HBA has called on the government to genuinely address corrupt practices in the industry, be it at the level of the local authority, state authority or federal authority, and remove loopholes that perpetuate and facilitate corrupt practices.

The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah, addressed this depravity recently, saying that Malaysia cannot be complacent or in denial about the existence of corruption, especially after dropping five rungs in the annual global corruption perception index.

With Malaysia falling from 57th to 62nd place in Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), the Sultan said that an honest assessment of corruption should be mandatory – sincere and objective – based on facts, as proof that Malaysians are truly serious in fighting and combatting, even to the point of totally eliminating corruption.

The Sultan said that even issues like potholes, clogged drains, illegal encroachment and poorly-managed parks were a reflection of today’s standard of governance.

“The attitude and response towards these issues will determine whether or not corruption is to be addressed with real determination or merely empty rhetoric that is devoid of, or not accompanied by meaningful action,” the Sultan was reported as saying during a book launch on corruption recently.

Pope Francis too has spoken out against corruption on many occasions and has openly denounced the “scourge” of corruption and stressed the importance of transparency among public entities, the private sector and civil society.

“Corruption is not countered with silence,” the Pope once said. “We must speak about it, denounce its evils, and try to understand it so as to show our resolve to make mercy reign over meanness, beauty over nothingness.”

Honesty, justice, a sense of duty and transparency are the essential pillars of a mature civil society and, as Christians, we must be actively involved in the fight against corruption.

We shouldn’t speak about resolving the issue of corruption in theory. Instead we should confront corruption in every sector. It is a necessary step to ensure the dignity and wellbeing of all humanity. For sadly, it is the poor who pay for the parties of the corrupt.

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