Stop The Current Corruption Wave, Post MCO

Oleh :
Director of Strategic Communication Division
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission 

ALTHOUGH the nation is currently plagued by the health and economic crisis, talks of corruption issues are never silent. During the Movement Control Order (MCO) period that was enforced starting on 18 March, there are still issues of corruption that surfaced as the main headlines in the media. 

In his decree, the Diraja Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah in commemoration of the third term opening of the 14th Parliament session on 18 May 2020, His Highness touched on corruption issues.

His Highness advised that any plans and programs towards the development of a progressive, stable and prosperous country will not be achieved if the country is still surrounded with corruption practices.

That is the image about corruption in this country and it is assumed to be endless until it has garnered the attention of the top leaders of the country. 

Previously, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has issued a press statement informing that the commission has received 286 information and 22 complaints about corruption, abuse of power and embezzlement cases during the MCO period starting on 18 March until 21 April.  

According to the statement, MACC has arrested three individuals in two separate cases regarding acts of bribery towards law enforcement officers that were on duty in the frontlines. 

In the first case, two citizens of Pakistan were arrested in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah because they allegedly bribed a law enforcement officer with RM7000 to avoid any actions taken because the suspects were believed to have smuggled cigarettes while passing through a roadblock. 

In the second case, a businessman was arrested because he allegedly bribed a local authority (PBT) with RM500 in Kluang, Johor as an incentive to avoid any actions taken for the offence of opening a business premise without permission.

Based on these two cases, it is clear that criminal acts or breaking the law including corruption will still occur in any circumstances or any form of control that is implemented. 

However, the most prominent matter involves the data that were issued by the MACC, it consists of 286 information in the period 35 days during MCO and this is considered as no small amount.

If specified, on average, there is approximately nine information that were received in a day, while there is one complaint regarding corruption on every alternate day.

In the interest of the people, officers of MACC still need to conduct investigations even in the limited circumstances and if the process is delayed, it will increase the burden during the post MCO period. 

Moreover, various specialists predict that the number of crimes including corruption will increase due to life constraints in every level of society during the post MCO period. 

Based on a recent media report, a famous market research company in Malaysia, Green Zebras has conducted a Malaysian Perception of Smoking and Vaping Study that shows 93% respondents are inclined to change to smuggled cigarettes because of its high money excise. 

The Managing Director of Green Zebras, Steve Murphy explained that the matter occurred because the income of Malaysians was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and MCO. When their income began to decrease, the demand for cheaper black market products is expected to increase.

Based on these findings, the expected rise in crimes that influenced towards corruption acts will surely have a basis specifically among the enforcement sector.

However, the more important matter during the post MCO period is that the people and MACC need to cooperate in order to help the country to increase its economy by reducing leakages for the sake of safeguarding the country’s assets from being taken by greedy corruption criminals. Don’t be afraid to report corruption because the reporter’s identity is protected by the law.  

Subsequently, it is important to understand the main duties of the government during this period which is to end the Covid-19 pandemic as soon as possible to enable the public to return to their normal lives and thus restoring the economy. However, the recent rise of corruption issues during this period must also be prioritized as well.

Similar to our fight to end this chain of Covid-19 pandemic, it also the same goes to ending the chain of corruption. Stop this corruption chain, during and post MCO period. 
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