It is important for the public to keep the ruling coalition in check to eradicate graft
By DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
The government has renewed its commitment to fight corruption and protect whistleblowers as Putrajaya seeks to get rid of the menace, including calls to report corrupt practices involving officers of the new administration.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said corruption was endemic during the administration of the previous government and it is important for the public to keep the ruling coalition in check to eradicate graft.
“I have noticed that there are almost no corruption reports involving the new Pakatan Harapan government. However, everyone should ensure that government officers especially avoid corruption at all cost,” he said at an anti-corruption summit in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
The country’s seventh prime minister (PM) said the rules related to corruption remain the same like during the Barisan Nasional government, but the difference is that the previous administration had abused the regulations.
“These days, we don’t hear about leaders being corrupt and we are no longer described as a kleptocratic government. This means we have restored the rule of law and the law prevails,” said Dr Mahathir.
The PM also wants foreign investors to report corrupt practices related to the new government.
“Many investors who previously had refused to invest in Malaysia had now done so. Unlike in the previous government, nobody in the current administration has asked for 30% free share or refused to approve the project,” he added.
He said as the government comprises three branches — executive, legislative and judiciary — corruption by one component will welcome actions from the other two.
The PM said the people had risen in the May 9 general election to kick out “cash is king” and a corrupt government.
“The people were given bribes and money. They took the money, but they voted against the givers.
“The task now is to eradicate that mindset from the people, to be government-dependent in any form that can be considered a bribe,” he said.
Dr Mahathir admitted that corruption could not be removed overnight, but the Pakatan Harapan government is taking decisive actions to end the menace within a specific time period.
“Cleaning up involves removing senior officers and replacing them with those who may not be as experienced…to combat the old practices.
“Due to that, our government machinery is currently weak because the experienced officials from the previous regime had been removed,” Dr Mahathir said.
On suggestion to place the money seized from corruption cases into Tabung Harapan, Dr Mahathir said the money should rightfully be returned to the originator.
He also alleged there were attempts by some parties to corrupt the current government through the Tabung Harapan fund.
“There was an instance where the government was offered RM100 million in donation from a company for the Tabung Harapan fund.
“However, upon further checks, we found that it was just a way to influence us.”
He said the company was facing some issues and the donation was rejected as it could be mistaken as a suborn.