KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 (Bernama) — Corruption is perhaps among the oldest ethical problem in the history of humankind, it is the reflection of a society’s impaired integrity and in the bigger picture a society that is morally corrupt.
Malaysians in particular are concerned with the country’s unenviable position in the corruption perception index despite the unwavering efforts of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his government to eradicate the menace.
In 2011, Malaysia’s ranking in the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index declined to 60 out of 183 nations compared with 56th position out of 178 nations in 2010.
So far the public sector bore the brunt of the blame for corrupt practices but if the recent series of graft cases published in the media are anything to go by, graft is rampant in the business world too.
The latest, rampant corrupt practices among employees of Iskandar Investment Berhad were discovered following an audit on the corporation entrusted with the task of developing the southern economic region, Iskandar Malaysia.
CORRUPTION IN THE BUSINESS WORLD
Malaysian Society for Transparency and Integrity secretary-general Josie M. Fernandez noted that corruption in the corporate world has dire consequences on the nation.
Business corruption can occur in two conditions, namely involving individuals of a company or involving the company itself.
Fernandez said such practice leads to increase in the cost of doing business in the country and therefore future investors will shy away from doing business here.
“Companies will not invest if they do not see good profit margin in a business deal, so if you add corruption cost the profit margin shrinks.
“Moreover, big investors look for countries with good business ethics that will ensure their businesses bloom. So business corruption can bring down our country’s economy,” she told Bernama.
Fernandez is glad to note that the Malaysian goverment through the Performance Management & Delivery Unit (Pemandu) has taken bold steps like introducing the corporate integrity pledge to fight business corruption.
BUSINESS CORRUPTION ANY ENTERPRENEUR’S NIGHTMARE
By and large, corruption in the business world happens in all sectors with far reaching implications.
The Malay Traders and Entrepreneurs’s Association President Datuk Moehamad Izat Emir shed some light on the implication from the corrupt practices of the business world.
“Corrupt business practices could affect the growth of entrepreneurs with potential in the country. Take for example, if only certain enterpreneurs get tenders from a company through corrupt manner others have no chance to introduce their offerings that could be better.
“The worse thing is that when the bidder who gets the tender by corrupt means has no ability to carry out work,” he said.
Moehamad Izat commended the efforts made by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commision (MACC) for extending its anti corruption crusade to the business world.
MACC’s relentless effort to take on anyone involved in corruption regardless of their position would also help improve public perception on the organisation.
“I suggest that the government increases MACC’s budget so that it can have a lot more officers and facilities to fight corruption in Malaysia.
“But we cannot depend on MACC alone to fight corruption, change in public perception is important. We must see corruption as something really evil for our society, not just another ‘handshake’ in concluding a transaction,” he said.
The president of Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun said corrupt business practices spares no industry.
“Even the tourism business is not spared,” he said adding that with corrupt practice there would not be transparency in business transactions and this will affect planning, management and others in the industry.
“Corruption can deny valuable opportunities for tourism players with expertise, capability and commitment. I also fear that the tourism product in this country will also be affected,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association President Datuk Mohamad Ashfar Ali said; “When people without expertise and experience get permits or any transport projects, the quality of service will be affected.
“We must remember transport is an important facility for people in this country. People will lament if there is no quality in the transport service ,” he said.
While Malaysians have yet to see iconic anti graft crusaders like India’s Anna Hazare, they can still count on the government that is committed in doing its level best to eradicate the malaise.
However, the success of this undertaking depends on every citizen’s contribution and not dependent on the government alone.