PM Anwar: Weak governance, corruption must be immediately tackled

KUALA LUMPUR — The weaknesses in governance and the widespread systemic corruption are critical issues that must be addressed immediately before tackling the structural problems that undermine the country’s economic strength, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

During a live address to the nation tonight, Anwar said he emphasised the corruption issue because it is the primary cancer that weakens the country’s economy, eroding morals and diminishing people’s confidence.

He said corruption occurs at every level, top to bottom, burdening the people with the whims of certain groups seeking commissions before giving any approvals.

“In the first year itself, I stressed on the need to stop the practise of direct negotiation in government procurement, referred to as negotiated tender, and to transition to an open tender system,” he said.

Earlier, Anwar stated that the stagnant economy of the people, the lacklustre business ecosystem, and the weak financial position of the federal government are the structural problems that are decreasing the country’s economic strength.

On the issue of punishment for corruptors raised by the people, Anwar stressed that investigations are ongoing and that legal avenues and court processes must be followed.

Therefore, he said the government fully empowers enforcement agencies such as the Royal Malaysia Police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), and the National Audit Department to act firmly and ensure a more orderly civil service, free from corruption, sluggishness, and laziness.

“Most importantly, this practice (corruption) must be stopped. The process takes time and is sometimes exhausting. Like many others, I am also impatient; why have no actions been taken to address past practices of amassing wealth unlawfully?” he said.

On the actions of certain parties who belittle the effort to fight corruption, saying it is only a political slogan, Anwar said it was common in politics, adding that he believed the corruption issue can be resolved if it is addressed consistently and steadfastly.

Citing the flood mitigation projects implemented through open tender, Anwar said the government saved RM2 billion in public funds.

He said the government had also busted civil servants involved in smuggling syndicates at the country’s entry points, whose action had cost the country up to RM2 billion since 2017.

In addition, Anwar said the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Cost of Living has also launched Op Tiris to combat diesel smuggling and break cooking oil, chicken, and egg cartels to control prices and supplies and reduce the cost of living. — BERNAMA