Civil servants must develop a culture which will help pave the way for the emergence of not only a dedicated, efficient and ethical civil service but also one which emphasises management integrity.
To achieve this objective, 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 really is important in the final analysis is to ensure all civil servants practice these noble values. Mere 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, affecting almost every aspect of life. From the person who wants his business application to be processed speedily to those who want to expedite their application for low-cost housing, bribery can take place. It manifests itself in so many other forms where the public interacts with the authorities.
It has been proven in many instances that an individual took bribes mainly because he is greedy and is presented with opportunities to commit corrupt practices. It is indisputable that greed is the motivating factor behind most, if not all, corrupt practices.
Officers involved in corruption are mostly those in charge of law enforcement. To eradicate such practices, all law enforcement agencies should have an internal audit system which can detect irregularities.
Efforts should continuously be made to instil integrity and ethical values among law enforcement officers because persons of high integrity are not likely to be involved in corrupt practices whatever the circumstances.
All public administrators and civil servants must discharge their duties with integrity and honesty, besides being ethical and transparent.
I believe the inculcation of noble and ethical values accompanied by adherence to the oath of good governance are the most effective ways to fight corrupt practices in the civil service.
We need to build strong mechanisms which will subject corrupt practices to public scrutiny.
The information age is providing citizens and non-governmental organisations with powerful tools and information to combat local corruption.
Likewise, the global economy puts tremendous pressure on local governments to rid themselves of factors that reduce their competitiveness. Corruption is clearly 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 costs of corruption are being explicitly recognised, as is the 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 their citizens, 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 innovative ways of building effective, accountable, and transparent systems.
Cities that implement and sustain accountable and transparent systems as well as good governance reform programmes benefiting the urban dwellers can expect to attract financial and human resources and become showcases of exemplary practices to be emulated nationwide.
In the final analysis, preventing corruption helps to raise city revenues, improve service delivery, stimulate public confidence and participation, and win public support.
In line with the creation of transparent local authorities, steps must be taken to instil moral and ethical values among their staff.
This is essential as honesty, sincerity and discipline are important elements every civil servant must possess when discharging his or her duties to the public.
Morals and ethics are not only important to the civil service but also to all sectors of Malaysian society. This is because graft and other forms of malpractices are also evident in the corporate world, non-governmental organisations and even voluntary organisations.
The answer really lies in every Malaysian as to whether he or she is prepared to make honesty and integrity a way of life.
Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye Kuala Lumpur The STAR Home > Opinion > Letters Friday November 6, 2015 MYT 12:00:00 AM