MACC chief: Corruption level worrying but not yet a ‘pandemic’

Yiswaree Palansamy
·3-min read
MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki said that civil servants the MACC arrested for corruption are usually those in senior positions and financially comfortable. — Picture by Hari Anggara
MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki said that civil servants the MACC arrested for corruption are usually those in senior positions and financially comfortable. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, April 15 — Corruption in the country was alarming but not yet at a critical level, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki said.

Speaking to TVAlhijrah last night, Azam was responding to host Syafinaz Yunus who asked if the rising number of cases exposed meant corruption in Malaysia was severe.

“We cannot say that it is bad. But I can say, as someone who has been in the line of fighting corruption for a long time, it is at a rate that is worrying me, personally, but it is not till it’s a pandemic.

“Maybe some in the community opine that it has gotten grievous and that it is pandemic. However, if we look at it from another angle, because of the awareness among the masses, this is what led to exposés on the many issues now.

“If there is no information from the public, and also maybe with technological development now also exposes many corruption issues. Especially those involving the authorities or civil servants. Surely these issues would now be exposed,” he said referring to both public tip-off and technology.

During the interview on the Analisis: Barah Lama @ Polemik Baru? programme, Azam added that civil servants the MACC arrested for corruption are usually those in senior positions and financially comfortable.

He said this meant greed and not desperation was the motive for their corruption.

“When this integrity value decreases because of non-trustworthiness, then it is very easy for corrupt activities and breach of trust to happen. That’s why if you ask me why this happens, there are many reasons under the corruption theory. It is the same from those days till now. That is, there will be space and opportunities and from one’s own greed.

“Based on our experience, we can say almost all (corruption) cases happen not because of life’s desperation, but it is more to greed, and also lack of faith and also the space and opportunity for it (corruption),” he added.

Azam said that without integrity, corruption cannot be tackled regardless of how good a system is put in place to address the problem.

When asked if low salaries contributed to the problem of civil service corruption, Azam said that some of those detained by the MACC were those earning the “Jusa C” and “Jusa B” grades.

Azam attributed the problem to the environment, peer influence and lifestyle.

“Now we have even caught those who are Jusa B recently, Jusa C also. Last time this was unheard of.

“Simple answer, because this has got to do with the personal values of a person. So maybe other crimes, such as theft because one does not have much to eat, I understand. But corruption is done by those who have power, by those who have the opportunity,” he added.

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