Nothing changes if new PM continues culture of patronage and corruption

Any form of corruption that happens amid this national emergency would be a reprehensible crime against the people

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Graphic: csj-ng.org

This new government, the third since 2018, in its advent, must commit to addressing the injustices of the previous administration and confront corruption as the greatest injustice in the fight against the Covid pandemic.

Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, in calling for all leaders to prioritise governance, has aptly stated that governance needs to be based on the principles of justice and should be entrusted to acknowledged experts. This is a serious responsibility that new Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob must heed with utmost urgency.

The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center) lauds this critical call for good governance, especially in the face of the current political turmoil and raging pandemic, where the future of Malaysia remains uncertain as political parties grapple for power.

Any form of corruption that happens amid this national emergency would be a reprehensible crime against the rakyat; thousands have become jobless and countless more have died. This call to better governance must be met with meaningful access to information and strict enforcement, regardless of rank and titles. In upholding the rule of law, there should be no discrimination between offenders. What should have been a backbone, a pillar of any enforcement system, has instead been perverted.

It is only with this equality in enforcement, that there will be equality before the law, that the rakyat can find their trust in the government again.

As the reminder comes for leaders to prioritise good governance, in running the country and in managing the battered economy, there must be tighter rules and accountability around the procurement of medical supplies, testing kits and vaccines. A clear lack of data transparency and half-baked information dished out by health officials have rendered Malaysians even more powerless.

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Potential conflicts of interest must be reported and swiftly investigated, with whistleblowers protected against any repercussions. This is especially so if any persons in power were to capitalise on the pandemic to make a quick buck at the expense of the people:

C4 Center calls for:

  • The new prime minister to stand firm in addressing the grave injustices of corruption and abuse of power, by taking on important structural reforms. There must be leadership by example.
  • The government to focus squarely on fighting the pandemic and assisting small and medium enterprises and people who have lost their jobs with more financial support
  • Strong and equal enforcement standards, equality before the law, and the upholding of the rule of law through independent institutions
  • Vigilance and accountability in the procurement of medical supplies necessary in fighting the pandemic
  • Protection for reporting persons and whistleblowers in calling out corruption during these dire times, including allowing a more vibrant media to function without fear
  • Data transparency on pandemic management, especially across state governments in Malaysia.

The new PM can ill-afford to practise crony and patronage politics and ignore corruption as a primary injustice during these dire and uncertain times in our country. – C4 Center

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