NECF Malaysia "For Your Intercession" No. 9 – January 15, 2004
"Consider what you do, for you judge not for man but for the LORD; he is with you in giving judgment. Now then, let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed what you do, for there is no perversion of justice with the LORD our God, or partiality, or taking bribes." (2 Chronicles 19:6-7 RSV)
A BRIEF REPORT:
The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2003 indicates that Malaysia, out of 133 countries surveyed, is ranked 37th (33rd in year 2002) in the perceived levels of corruption among politicians and public officials. That is not so bad after all, you may say, as compared with Bangladesh (133rd), Nigeria (132nd), Myanmar (129th ), Indonesia (122nd), Thailand (70th) and South Korea (50th). Let’s be sensible, Malaysia scored 5.2, a little bit above the average, on the scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (highly clean). Consider the score of our closest neighbor, Singapore (9.4), the level of corruption in Malaysia is worrisome.
The World Bank Group has identified corruption as the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development. "It undermines development by distorting the rule of law and weakening the institutional foundation on which economic growth depends." Those who are severely affected are the poor who are "most reliant on the provision of public services, and are least capable of paying the extra costs associated with bribery, fraud, and the misappropriation of economic privileges." The country’s economy suffers, the poor become poorer, the quality of life in a society as a whole will seriously be damaged and the essential components of a nation will be corroded. Discrimination takes place. Human rights violated. Democracy undermined. Ultimately, the nation is destroyed.
Understood the cancerous effects of corruption, Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has called for immediate steps to fight corruption, even months before he took on the premiership in October 31 2003. "Corruption is a terrible disease that can hurt our competitiveness and image and will result in a loss of public confidence," he said (Aug 25, 03). "It interferes with the smooth running of the Government, interferes with the implementation of the things we want to do, and creates problems in the public delivery system" (Dec 4, 03).
Corruption is the scourge of society. Giving statements on fighting corruption is one thing, but confronting it decisively is another. Let us work hand in hand with our Government by first being men and women of integrity and honesty (Psalms 15), speak against corruption, and pray fervently for our Prime Minister, national leaders, politicians, the implementations of Government policies and for the citizens’ conviction & commitment.
SUGGESTED PRAYER POINTS:
"Malaysians must give their fullest support by reporting corruption to the authorities to ensure that bribery will not be institutionalised. Corruption cannot be fought through laws and punishment alone. We need to build a culture through discipline and good moral values which abhor corruption," (Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, Aug 12 2003 NSTP). It takes two to tango, the public ((Proverbs 12:22, 21:3)
The battle against graft requires not only political commitment, but also implementing that commitment and giving more respect and independence to the Anti-Corruption Agency.
The 4th Regional Anti-Corruption Conference for Asian and Pacific Countries concluded that the lack of political will to eradicate corruption remains a major stumbling block to development in the region.