Updated: Malaysia in Dire Need of Clean, Trustworthy Officials

In the past decade, Malaysians have been dealing with news of corrupted leaders, officials and a tainted civil service almost on a daily basis.

Many wrongdoings and crimes have been exposed, some dealt with in the courts and some get coverage in the media, only to escape any other punishments. It is almost like we do not have a shortage of those in power who commit criminal breach of trust, use money that does not belong to them and bring so much of shame and embarrassment to the people and country.

While some misappropriations represent unfair gain of wealth for corrupted officials and leaders at the expense of the people, some of the wrongdoings have also brought disastrous outcomes for the people. This could be anything from natural calamities and tragedies brought on by illegal approvals by officials related to land deals to opening up sensitive forest areas for resources exploitation that result in serious damages to the environment and ultimately the people.

Besides the societal damages, the consequent ill-effects are also seen in the country’s businesses and economy.

While it cannot be solidly established whether the deep depth of corruption, increasingly unstable political situation and poor public administration are the reasons for some major multinational companies pulling out of Malaysia to its neighbouring countries, the fact is several multi-national corporations (MNCs) have pulled out of Malaysia in the recent years and this is something that needs serious consideration.

While new investments may grow, the indication of lost trust by long standing business partners who leave the country will be difficult to regain.

In countries like South Korea and Japan, a single mistake by a head of an organisation or company would usually see the person in charge doing what is often seen as the noble thing to do – resign.

Often these mistakes may not even be theirs but their subordinates, but they would still take the responsibility and leave their place vacant in the conviction that someone more capable should take over.

Perhaps this culture should be adopted here in Malaysia.

Say, someone who holds a position of power makes a mistake or someone else makes a mistake in the name of the someone, the honourable thing to do would be to resign. This may not put the person who made the mistake in better light, but it will at least clear the organisation from black marks, separating what the organisation stands for from the mistakes made by anyone representing it.

Mistakes can be forgiven but a continued drop in the confidence investors in the country will bring long term damages to the country economically, socially and its standing in the international arena.

So, leaders who have made mistakes, it is time for them to acknowledge the wrongdoings, and do the right thing. Let someone else manage where you have failed to do so with efficiency and more importantly, with integrity.

A.S. Mani