ACCORDING to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed, “the problem in our country’s laws is that negligence is not a crime.
Making a wrong decision is not a crime, it is a disciplinary offence. Today you can’t charge someone for stupidity too”.
An officer cannot be solely blamed for financial losses caused to the Government, through genuine stupidity, ignorance, carelessness, negligence, etc.
The blame should be on those who recruited the officer without adequate scrutiny; those who confirmed him in service after probation; those who saw him fit to pass his efficiency bar; and those who promoted him to a position of financial responsibility to make purchases for the department.
Being born stupid is not a crime, but those selecting a stupid and negligent person for a responsible position in government service and retaining him in that position, must bear the moral responsibility for all the losses to the Government due to the officer’s blunders and inadequacies.
It is a different matter if an officer is not genuinely stupid, ignorant, or negligent but wilfully and deliberately feigning stupidity and ignorance with the intent of defrauding the Government for personal gains.
Wilful ignorance and wilful stupidity are smart ways to avoid being charged and can be endemic in government service if not checked. The suppliers who connive with the officer to jointly defraud the Government should also be charged.
If it can be proved that the officer deliberately and wilfully feigned stupidity and ignorance with the intent of defrauding the Government, he should be charged.
Suppliers who collude with government officers to defraud the government should be permanently blacklisted.
M. GANESHADEVA The STAR Online Home News Opinion 151/0/2013