Beware of Kleptocracy

November 27, 2012

Beware of Kleptocracy ala Malaysia: Systemic Rot if Graft goes unchecked

by Pauline Wong (11-26-12)

Malaysia may descend into a “kleptocracy” if corruption is not addressed effectively and comprehensively, academicians warned today.

They warned that the country would be ruled by the corrupt if graft is not tackled in a far-reaching manner which can be felt by the people. Kleptocracy”, derived from the words “kleptomania” and “-cracy” or “rule” refers to a government filled with those who seek status and personal gain at the expense of the governed.

At a forum on “Eradicating Corruption: How successful have we been?” organised by the Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) today, National University of Singapore Associate Professor Dr Syed Farid Alatas (left) voiced the danger of kleptocracy taking root as corruption is not a random or occasional occurence but tends to be systemic.

He said “kleptocrats” are usually not mid-level officials who extort money as a means to make a living, but high-ranking officials who see it as a way to accumulate wealth.

Despite positive outcome from anti-corruption initiatives rolled out by the government through the Government Transformation Programme and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Syed Farid said the effects were still not felt by the people.

“The people are still pessimistic about the way authorities are tackling corruption,” said Syed Farid, a Malaysian who was formerly a Universiti Malaya lecturer.

Commenting on Malaysia’s deteriorating position in the Corruption Perception Index, from 37 out of 80 countries in 2003, to 60 in 2011, Syed Farid urged the government to work towards the formation of a truly independent anti-corruption body.

“The MACC, for example has no power to initiate prosecution. The power to prosecute lies with the Attorney-General’s Chambers (A-GC) – which is as such free to practise selective prosecution,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, another panelist, Universiti Malaya Faculty of Economics and Administration Professor Dr Edmund Terence Gomez (right) said grand corruption must be tackled from the top.

“We must first talk about devolution of power, where important institutions like the MACC and the A-GC, and even the Judiciary must be independent.We have to do this soon, because degenerative corruption is becoming pervasive. Money is being channeled into the political system and we see this in permeation of money politics,” he said.

He also called for a fair and just implementation of good and noble policies to eradicate corruption.

The forum was attended by former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi under whose tenure the MACC was formed. “When we talk of corruption, we must talk about the integrity of our judiciary. It must be a respected and respectable institution, able to prove that they are able to demonstrate that they are the highest institution of correctness and integrity,” Abdullah said in his closing speech.

Calling for the strengthening of the judiciary to fight corruption, he said the judiciary itself must be above doubt.”There must be good governance, or corruption will run rampant in the nation,” he said.

Ideas also released yesterday its interim report “Combating Corruption: Understanding Anti-Corruption Initiatives in Malaysia’. The report concluded that there is a disconnect between public perception and actual data on corruption, and that corruption cannot be measured by perception alone.

“Public perception as measured by the Corruption Perception Index implies that corruption is rampant and the situation is bleak. But data suggests that the problem is not as bleak as the CPI score has painted,” the report stated.

The 55-page interim report which analysed the causes, cost and implications of corruption in Malaysia, also reviewed initiatives taken by the MACC under the National Key Result Areas (NKRAs) for combating corruption.

The report is funded by the MACC-NKRA Division and other local and foreign sponsors.


15 thoughts on “Beware of Kleptocracy

  1. Reform the MACC and change the A-G and make sure you elect a government that has the political will to eradicate corruption, starting with the most corrupt in the present political leadership (e.g Musa Aman and Pehin Seri Taib Mahmud).–Din Merican

  2. There are academics and there are academics. Some venture boldly to pursue their ideals and speak their mind. They face the facts and challenge intellectual boundaries. Others wear the title “academic” around their neck and write essays to support foregone conclusions and pre-determined decisions.

    Guess which category would these panelists sit with?

    I am no academic. The only university I have ever attended is “Universiti Masyarakat”, thanks to the discriminative policy of Barisan Nasional.

    But I can tell you panelist that Malaysia is ALREADY a Kleptocracy! It is so clear, so blatant that even the blind and deaf know. Just go to the nearby coffeeshop and ask anyone there. They can give you so many examples of kleptocracy in action.

    And you esteemed panelist skirt around the fact and say “Malaysia MAY descend into a “kleptocracy” if corruption is not addressed effectively and comprehensively…”

  3. I say let it keep until the point where it does happen and prices go up and the dollar goes to the dogs them the malays will look at their leaders and know who to blame.

  4. Nothing seems to be working. So perhaps we need to do a Morsi, give sweeping powers to any man bold and desperate enough to want it, get rid of the judicial branch and sack the Attorney General. Talk about ‘change’. That would be one ‘change’ that is long overdue.

    Talk about Judas Iscariat who betrayed Jesus. According to earlier Gospels, Judas was sent to do God’s work. He sacrificed himself so the Son of God could reveal himself.

    If you guys are looking for ‘change’, you need a President Morsi so Malaysia could assume the trajectory it was on before the Old Goat came and exposed his ass in your faces.

  5. “Beware of kleptocracy ala Malaysia”??

    Are you kiddin’ me? Which rock did you emerge from? Which rock have you been hiding under, the last thirty years? Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves have been robbing you blind for that long and you don’t know it?? Have you been masturbating yourself blind?

  6. ” Have you been masturbating yourself blind “?,Heeeee3, Mr Bean you can be so cruel sometimes,but then I do agree with you,not about the blindness,about the kleptocracy…I would know these very well,coz my company manufactures the only Malaysian design Garbage Trap ( NTVS ),it traps so well that Singapore has installed it ( in stages ) but the Malaysian Govt,well they are just too smart.They are worried that we might trap them instead of garbages,well they are mush worst…

  7. These carma panellists are too polite to say that Malaysia is neck-deep in kleptocracy. It all started when the Old Goat assumed office. And there is no cure until this thieving class are kicked out of office. Anything less is mere publicity stunt at taxpayers expense.

  8. Do we need any more proof that Mahathir’s old way is alive and well ?

    When will people get it. Najib is Mahathir’s political faithful child even if he is prodigal one. The anti-corruption is PURELY COSMETIC. Parts of it may be surgery but its STILL COSMETIC..

    ITS ALL JUST AN ELABORATE PUBLIC RELATION & ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN.. Very expensive and a lot of effort to follow up the advertising with supporting details, packaging but its still FAKE.

    Badawi was MUCH BETTER.. He tried, he failed and he gave up. BUT he really wanted to. NAJIB NEVER INTENDED TO…

  9. Do not be too harsh on academics (academicians) in the public sector.
    Many are doing their best under oppressive conditions with no academic freedom and no freedom of speech.

    Don’t forget that we live in a kleptocratic, pseudo-democracy and semi-apartheid, semi-police state.

    The ones who should be condemned are those who spout what they actually know to be untruths at the behest of the regime
    (such as declaring that radioactive and non-radioactive, but toxic wastes, from rare earth extraction are “safe”).

  10. How successful have we been in fighting corruption? The answer is simply in the negative especially when it involves the real big fishes.
    The penalists concluded that actual data on corruptions are not as bad as what the public perceive and that corruptions cannot be measured by perceptions alone – again that is not entirely true. Business people and the prospective investors making decisions on investments will be influenced in the main by perceptions which can throw doubt on even the best of accummulated data presented. The public and the voters are no different in their tendencies to be swayed by perceptions, rightly or otherwise. It should be recognised that perception is virtually reality in this materialistic world. If we continue having the attitude that we are still not having any serious problems with corruptions, then we are never going to be able to find effective solutions to resolve them.
    The MACC needs to be given the power to prosecute and not be dependent on the AG Chambers. It should be made independent of any political parties & the Executive Branch and should not be headed by one person but by a an executive board answerable directly to the Agong.
    The penalists also recognised that money is being poured into the political system resulting in the money politics. Some of this money, being unregulated and secretly exchanged, leaks into private pockets leading to its seepage to the grassroot levels which become corrupted as well resulting in the public servants being affected. We need appropriate & comprehensive laws & regulations to manage and monitor these money flows to political parties effectively and transparently. It does not mean that political donations/contributions, big or small, must be stopped – they need to be regulated like in some other countries.
    Yes, the penalists said the judiciary should be made independent as well but that depends on the judiciary and the CJ themselves – they should no look to others for the required independence.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s