Thursday, June 4, 2009


As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on June 2, 2009 12:16 PM

1. We need a law against corruption just as we need laws against all crimes. But sometimes the laws are so framed that they promote crime rather than prevent them. Such a law is the Malaysian law on corruption.

2. It seems logical and right that those who receive illegal gratification should be considered guilty of breaking the law and should therefore be punished. But when we talk of corruption we think of those endowed with power abusing their power in order to gain personal benefit. We think that those who offer gratification as being the victim and should be given some consideration.

3. But the law says that those who pay for the service they receive should also be considered as guilty and should be equally deserving of punishment.

4. Since both the giver and the recipient may be charged with corruption, both would be unwilling to report the incident. This of course make corruption difficult if not impossible to be brought to a court of law and tried successfully.

5. Besides the process of law would be much prolonged, as each would seek lawyers to argue on his behalf. Not only will the trial take ages but the result can be quite unpredictable.

6. But there is another factor. The person reporting would be marked by those sympathetic to the other party so that it would affect his dealings with them as well. If they are Government servants whose approval would be needed, the approvals may not be forthcoming at all later, even if other officers are involved.

7. Because of the ineffectiveness of the laws corrupt people often get away with their corrupt practices.

8. Yet corruption is such a bane on society that it must be stopped somehow. If the law is ineffective then it must be made to be effective. One of the ways is to give immunity to the aggrieved party reporting the case, provided that the evidence was substantial and not perjury.

9. In the case of political corruption both parties may be willing participants. The bribe is given by a candidate to a willing recipient to gain support for himself. Both are therefore unlikely to complain and reveal the act.

10. The recipients on the other hand would be glad to receive the bribe, unless he is a person of high principal unwilling to betray the cause his party was fighting for.

11. In political corruption it would be extremely difficult to get evidence of the bribe being given or received. Electronics now play a role to hide the act. The money is deposited into the account of the person (voter) concerned via the ATM machines. The recipient would be called via phone to ask whether the money had been received, giving the name of the candidate.

12. Despite the difficulties for detection, a Government that is truly determined to prevent corruption can find ways of detecting corruption. But if the Government itself is corrupt then corruption cannot be stopped. In fact corruption would spread in every direction and would become a way of life. At this stage nothing can really be done.