MALAYSIAN APEC/ASEAN LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE – ARE WE AS A GLOBAL NATION DOING ENOUGH TO FIGHT CORRUPTION?

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MALAYSIAN APEC/ASEAN LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE – ARE WE AS A GLOBAL NATION DOING ENOUGH TO FIGHT CORRUPTION?

An open letter to the political leaders of the United States Of America, Russia, the UK, Europe, Australia, ASEAN and APEC!

When you fight against corruption, corrupt systems and peddlers of corruption whoever they are, you are targeted, you will get death threats as I have – not once but a zillion times in my career in consumerism and as Malaysia’s lead consumer advocate!

But, do we stop in fear or should we be motivated to do more, showing the perpetrators, we fear no evil!

The report read – Medicines worth RM1.2 Million stolen from a public hospital!

Another report read Officer who stole RM1 Million let off and a third read A billion ringgit airport or swimming pool and a fourth RM12 million paid to dead army veterans!

And there are multi billions being stolen too through compromised banking processes, money laundering and the using of tax havens!

I can go on and on and I cannot but feel ashamed as we are not having a conversation on corruption – the elephant in the room but on pigs, cows, frogs, belittling minority religions, arresting members of the civil society, and blowing beyond rational and proportions issues for a narrow racist, fascist political agenda!

Worst when whistle blowers become the target instead of the corrupt!

My God and Lord – It is embarrassing, silly and stupid to put it politely and how did we get here?

Many world sitting and challenged governments are very far from winning the war against corruption within its ranks if details of its latest report are anything to go by.

The report by their respective Public Service Commissions (PSC) and watchdogs agencies shows that efforts to rid the public sector of corruption over the years have not shown any signs of success as evidenced by the high number of acquittals or more interestingly no further action despite initial big media show times?

We are advised that over 77 per cent of all those facing corruption charges over the last four years  have been set free, the report says.

And theft of public funds is the most common form of crime among all corruption cases prosecuted between 2009 and 2013.

The many acquittals have been attributed to lack of evidence as witnesses decline to come forward.

The report which assesses national values and principles in government ministries, departments and agencies gave low marks to the efforts by the government to sensitize civil servants on the war on corruption.

Instead in several countries the tables were turned when whistle blowers and civil society members addressing big time corruption were castrated instead of those powerful and seriously tainted!

In jurisdictions of high number of prosecutions, there were an equally high number of acquittals.

On average, 77 per cent of persons prosecuted for corruption between 2009 and 2013 have been acquitted, which is nerve wrecking!

The high number of acquittals means efforts to fight corruption in places and positions of concern has not materialized!

It is evident that reducing corruption through prosecution remains difficult.

We cannot deny that fighting high powered corruption in certain countries is a nonstarter when the politicians control the entire government machinery and there is no separation of powers which is part and parcel of real democracy!

In some jurisdictions there is conflicts between civil and religious laws and the total collapse of professionalism among enforcers bring disrepute to law and order issues and judiciary pronouncements when one’s personal religious belief clouds judgment and professionalism of public office!

The process in itself also has major hurdles in several jurisdictions from murdered and uncooperative witnesses, lack of original documents and delays in the conclusion of cases in court, of compromised or sympathetic witnesses, while others are accomplices, mainly due to the fact that they might have been colleagues of the accused.

Worst case scenarios are when the entire government is in itself corrupt and repressive and draconian laws are exerted to hurt, punish and frustrate the true engagement and dialogue to combat corruption at the top!

Fighting corruption has its rewards!

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Will 2017 be any different?

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