When Datuk Harun Idris, a former Selangor menteri besar, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for corruption in 1976, everyone thought that it would deter those in power from committing such acts.
Yet, in 1998, another former Selangor menteri besar, Muhammad Muhammad Taib, was found guilty by an Australian court of trying to bring in RM2.4 million into Australia.
He had to resign as menteri besar. Neither of these incidents seems to have deterred Dr Khir. As former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said: “Melayu mudah lupa.”
I feel that even caning or the death penalty will not deter anyone who doesn’t believe in “crime does not pay”. People will continue to commit murder, kidnapping, robbery, rape, drug smuggling and corruption.
This is evident from the increased number of these cases. People talk about deterrents most often when discussing vicious crimes. The idea is to scare would-be criminals from committing such crimes.
Thus, caning, life sentence and the death penalty are supposed to be deterrents. But, are they really? No. Like Dr Tan said, it could only serve as a lesson, a reminder or even a threat to put crime under control.
Like prostitution, corruption has existed since time immemorial, and in spite of the Revelation of the Holy Quran 1,437 years ago forbidding Muslims from committing, besides others, corruption, there are Malay Muslims, especially in government service and politics who are doing it today with impunity.
Why? People are entitled to their own answer or opinion, but, I feel that these people are weak in their “iman” (faith) and “taqwa” (respect for God’s laws), so much so that they become greedy and materialistic.
As a result, they succumb to greed and excessive desires. Since it would be impossible to eradicate corruption, the government should set up preventive measures to combat corruption.
In 2008, it approved the formation of an independent Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. Its role is to investigate, arrest and convict the corrupt. Like many other countries, the Public Accounts Committee was formed to assume the role of enhancing public sector accountability.
Next, the Integrity Management Committee was set up to prevent bribery and corruption, and to boost integrity among civil servants and politicians.
Besides a deterrent sentence, another way to combat corruption is education. Children must be taught from young the evils of corruption, that Islam abhors corruption as deadly, undesirable, wicked and, above all, haram.
Corruption can result in inefficiencies in the operation of emerging economies that will scare off investors. It is observed that more often, takers of bribes are arrested, charged and sentenced, but, seldom are the givers.
There is a saying, “It takes two hands to clap”, and I think it is timely that the givers should also be arrested, charged, and sent to prison for complicity. Nor Shahid Mohd Nor, Petaling Jaya, Selangor NST Home News Opinion 9 October 2015