To learn more about the impact of corruption on our politics (and vice versa), watch this keynote lecture “Corruption, connections, money in politics“.
According to the Global Corruption Barometer (2020), 71% of Malaysians believe that government corruption is a big problem.
Najib Razak’s 1MDB scandal is a global case in point, showing that the scale of corruption involving a key political figure can be massive – 25 charges of graft and money laundering involving 1MDB amounting to RM2.3bn were brought against Najib Razak!
Worse, the case (and the money) had passed through a network of individuals and institutions. How is it that the political system failed to provide checks and balances on public officials and prevent them from engaging in corrupt practices?
In many cases, politicians are often implicated as the masterminds used their political position or public office as a lever for political financing to enrich themselves, their family members and cronies, as well as to strengthen their grip on power.
This is done while the other willing parties are complicit and partners in crime to advance their own agendas. Corruption can therefore be seen as a vicious circle that feeds back positively to maintain the existing power structure and patronage network.
The questions remain: why do politicians have to resort to corruption to satisfy their personal and political needs? What continues to motivate and encourage them to do so?
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Is there no better way to address legitimate political needs? Can the national anti-corruption plan work to curb corruption? What about the law on political financing? How will the “unity government” with the Malaysia Madani (Civil Malaysia) ruling philosophy deal with corruption?
Topic 1: Accountability beyond the ballot: Commitments to reform from within
- Dr Bridget Welsh, honorary research associate, University of Nottingham Malaysia
- Lee Chean Chung, Petaling Jaya MP
- Aira Azhari, senior manager, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Iseas)
Moderator: May Leong, Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia
Organiser: Agora Society
Event partners: University of Malaya, Rasuah Busters and Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia