To achieve this goal it is necessary to have a work culture that incorporates honesty, trust, discipline, responsibility and transparency. While we welcome the incorporation of noble values in the civil service, what is really important,
in the final analysis, is to ensure that civil servants practise these values.
Slogans and lip service are not going to help. Corruption has been with us since the beginning of human organisation.
Yet we cannot be unconcerned and complacent about corruption because it attacks, not only the economic and social fabric of society, but also the moral foundations of order.
Above all, we must never allow corruption to be institutionalised. Corruption is pervasive and affects almost every aspect of life. From the person who wants his business application to be processed speedily to others who want to expedite their applications for low-cost housing, bribery can take place.
It manifests itself in so many forms when the public interacts with the authorities. It has been proven in many instances that an individual takes bribes mainly because he is greedy and is presented with opportunities to commit corrupt practices.
It is indisputable to state that greed is the motivating factor behind most, if not all, corrupt practices.
Officers involved in corrupt practices are mostly those in charge of law enforcement. To eradicate such practices, law enforcement agencies should have an internal audit system to detect irregularities.
Efforts should be made continuously to instil integrity and ethical values in law enforcement officers because persons of high integrity are not likely to commit corrupt practices.
Public administrators and civil servants must discharge their duties with integrity and honesty, besides being ethical and transparent.
I believe that the inculcation of noble and ethical values, accompanied by adherence to the oath of good governance, are the most effective ways to fight corruption in the civil service.
We need to build strong mechanisms that subject corrupt practices to public scrutiny. The information age is providing citizens and non-governmental organisations with tools and information to combat corruption.
Likewise, the global economy puts tremendous pressure on local governments to rid themselves of factors that reduce their competitiveness.
Corruption is a factor that can and does reduce the attractiveness of one community over another. The movement towards decentralisation, accountability and transparency at the local government level is gathering momentum.
In this context, the enormous cost of corruption is being recognised explicitly as there is an urgent need to correct governmental malfeasance.
Corruption is an entrenched symptom of misgovernance often reflected in patronage, red tape, ineffective revenue-generating agencies, large-scale bribery in procurement and failure to deliver services to city dwellers.
But when local officials in charge of public resources are accountable to the public, decision-making can become participatory. In turn, a participatory process can be the cornerstone of a national strategy to reform “sick” institutions and improve the welfare of city dwellers.
The challenge facing local governments is to develop ways of building effective, accountable and transparent systems.
Cities implementing and sustaining accountable and transparent systems as well as good governance reform programmes benefiting urban dwellers can expect to attract financial and human resources and become exemplary practices to be emulated nationwide.
In the final analysis, preventing corruption raises city revenues, improves service delivery, stimulates public confidence and participation, and wins public support. In line with the creation of transparent local authorities, steps must be taken to instil moral and ethical values in their staff.
This is essential as honesty, sincerity and discipline are important elements every civil servant must possess when discharging his duties to the public.
Morals and ethics are not only important to the civil service but also to all sectors of society. This is because graft and other forms of malpractice are evident in the corporate world, non-governmental organisations and voluntary organisations.
The answer lies in every Malaysian as to whether he is prepared to make honesty and integrity a way of life. Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye NST Letters 2 August 2015