INTEGRITY SHAKEN by the headline news of the RM4 billion loss of government revenue due to agency mismanagement, misuse of power and corruption, Dr Rokiah Talib, in her letter (NST, Sept 8) asked: “Where have we gone wrong?”
I feel that this billion-dollar rhetorical question is relevant and timely, in view of the calamities that have befallen our country, including the leak of the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah papers.
Different people have different answers. Mine, as a Muslim, is simply that the wrath of God is being revealed, against all godlessness, unrighteousness, wickedness, disobedience and sins.
It is regrettable that there are black sheep in the enforcement agencies, which are made up of more than 95 per cent Malay Muslims and have been entrusted with heavy responsibilities to enforce the law and collect revenue.
Muslims are forbidden to commit sins and are commanded to abide by the teaching of the Quran and Sunnah yet many disobey and commit such sins as consuming alcohol, adultery, gambling, drug abuse, misuse of powers and, above all, corruption.
As a result, they succumb to greed and excessive desires to acquire or possess more than what one needs.
They become so materialistic and tend to make use of their entrusted position to amass more money, houses, expensive cars, wives and properties by resorting to corruption.
When they are caught, Malay observers would just quote the Malay proverb Harapkan pagar, pagar makan padi (We trust in the fence to protect our padi, but it is the very fence that eats the padi).
The proverb will remain a proverb and the Malays will use it, again and again, on those without integrity or who are untrustworthy.
Nothing is being done positively to eradicate corruption by repairing, strengthening, supervising, monitoring, cautioning, advising and taking serious action against the fence for eating the padi.
I know some people will quote another Malay proverb, Jangan jaga tepi kain orang. (Don’t mind other people’s business), so even the heads of departments will choose to close an eye to whatever their subordinates are doing.
Some parents, too, would not caution or advise their children when they commit sinful acts.
Islam allows Muslims, up to a certain extent, to caution, advise, and counsel wayward fellow Muslims so that they will not go astray and commit sins.
This is evident from Surah Al-‘Asr in the Quran: “By (the Token of) Time (through the ages) / Verily Man is in loss/Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.”
I feel that it is the responsibility of all heads of department to obey the tenets of Islam as mentioned above to monitor, counsel and caution their officers who are found living beyond their means.
The government’s action in suspending the two top Malaysian Examination Board officers is a step in the right direction.
It is proper that the heads of department should be held responsible for the actions of their officers.
In fact, it is about time the death penalty be imposed on anyone found guilty of corruption.Nor Shahid Mohd Nor, Petaling Jaya, Selangor NST Letters 18 SEPTEMBER 2014 @ 8:12 AM