To progress, Malaysia must purge corruption, reform political funding

Cartoon by Zunar

Politicians cannot serve the people with full integrity if they are entangled in a web of business interests, JD Lovrenciear writes.

It is clear that a political career cannot have any private or party business interests if we want to sustain a democratically progressive nation.

For a long time, political funding in Malaysia was intertwined with business interests that were symbiotically fused with government contracts.

This has led to serious allegations of fraud, criminal charges and abuse of the nation’s wealth.

The fact that Malaysia is now labelled as a kleptocratic nation globally attests to how far downhill we have slid.

Defections from parties appear to be hinged on a what’s-in-it-for-me syndrome.

Despite all the talk about disclosure of politicians’ personal and family assets, corruption allegations involving billions of ringgit, the unashamed flaunting of the trappings of wealth ranging from a cache of jewellery to glittering holidays – we continue to swirl in a pool of hardship and hopelessness.

As the Perikatan Nasional bandwagon struggles to keep its coup-advantage on safer ground, we have seen how political interests and loyalty are secured.

For as long as political funding, business interests and personal greed are the determinants of political power, a nation will risk eroding its wealth.

We have enough examples around the world where people reel in abject poverty owing to the decades of plunder that thrived on corrupt practices and personal greed.

Any amount of oppressive laws to stifle social displeasure will further ruin a nation, especially given the post Covid-19 economic slowdown.

Malaysia will lose out even more in this new world order as long as there is no reformation of our political system, as long as we go against the grain of democracy and its demands for progressive social development.

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Politicians cannot serve the people with full integrity if they are entangled in a web of business interests.

We cannot grow in maturity in political thinking if unethical political funding is the ultimate passport to power.

Our nation risks structural damage if we do not purge the political system that now thrives on personal business interests, rent-seeking, a political funding machinery that taps into the wealth of the nation, and personal greed.

Patriotism demands that we eradicate this cancer in our midst.

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