Daunting Task To Completely Weed Out Corruption, says Lee Lam Thye

KOTA KINABALU: Corruption cannot be eradicated totally as long as there is a willing giver and a willing taker, said National Integrity Institute member Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.He said corruption can be tackled proactively through prevention.


“So, to prevent corruption, we must stigmatise both the giving and the taking. 

“That can be done primarily by education and by the inculcation of good value,” he said in a statement today.

However, Lee said initiative to motivate people to distance themselves from corruption, through education, should start early.

“As far as education is concerned, we must start early.  As they say, you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.  

“It is difficult to change the habits of those who are used to giving or taking bribes.  These people have lost their values and will succumb to temptation again and again.

“Then it becomes like a pandemic.  It affects every society in every way,” he said.

As such, he said there is a need to start inculcating good values at a very young age, in school.  

The importance of honesty and self-worth must be instilled in students throughout their years in school, starting with primary school, he said.

“That is one way. The other way is the carrot and stick approach.  We must offer a combination of rewards and punishment to induce good behaviour and actions. And build integrity.

“The rewards can take many forms.  Anybody who reports corrupt practices should be rewarded in some form or another.  We must introduce a set of tangible rewards for those who report attempts to bribe anybody,” he said.

As for punishment, Lee said there are  sufficient laws in place to prevent corruption.  

“We have the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act, 2009 which provides ample scope to discourage acts of corruption by punitive measures,” he said.

He said the government should also improve existing enforcement and awareness programmes to prevent corruption.

“If fully and diligently applied,  enforcement of that Act can curtail corrupt practices to a substantial degree,” he added.

In this respect, Lee said the MACC has so far done a good job in prosecuting the guilty “but since corruption in our country is systemic, their due diligence is not enough”.  

“They need the active support and cooperation of the public.

“So, we must all play our part.  We must actively root out corrupt practices and provide correct and timely information to the authorities of malpractices.

“As they say, it takes two hands to clap.  So, while MACC is doing its best, the people must also do their part,” he said.

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