I REFER to the report, “Govt to deploy 100 new integrity officers”, (NST, Oct 29), in which the government will deploy them in all ministries and agencies, and plans to have 600 certified integrity officers within three to four years.
I hope the new officers are qualified ustaz, who could give religious counselling to officers in high-risk government enforcement agencies.
About a year ago, Bukit Aman formed an elite squad to go after kingpins, “tiger generals” and organised crime bosses.
The formation of the squad, comprising 400 highly-trained police officers, was a step in the right direction to dispel negative perception of not only the police force but also of government enforcement agencies.
No doubt, since then, they have done a good job of closing down many illegal activities in the country. However, there are recent reports of gambling dens in Ulu Sepetang and Malacca that were allowed to operate for years under the noses of enforcement officers. In other words, they are being protected.
That is why, in spite of having the elite squad and the state police, crime is still rampant in the country.
These criminals have raked in billions of ringgit in untaxed revenue. The government has also lost millions of ringgit in revenue that has been paid to “black sheep” enforcement officers as inducement not to take action.
What has been reported is shocking and, as usual, some heads of departments will come out either in defence of their agencies or dismiss the report as baseless.
There is a Malay saying, “Tak tumbuh tak melata, tak sungguh orang tak kata” (If it is not true, people will not talk about it). Instead of dismissing the allegations as unsubstantiated reports, the department heads should go down to the ground and investigate, and send the elite force to close down these illegal dens without fear or favour.
Fighting corruption is not only about finding loopholes and weakness in the system but also fighting the givers and the takers, who are the main culprits of bribery and corruption.
What is most important is to change the mindset and cleanse the souls of the “black sheep” in all enforcement agencies, of which, 95 per cent are made up of Malay-Muslim officers.
Their tawhid and taqwa, iman and aqidah need to be strengthened through religious counselling, seminars, courses, prayers, and repentance. This is to build their self-respect, instil in them a sense of responsibility, rebuild their moral values, inculcate in them the habits of good work, honesty and integrity from the Islamic perspective. It could also be greed, wanting to keep up with the Joneses, financial difficulties, family pressure, gambling and womanising. The heads of department or senior officers must meet their lower-ranked staff to get to know them and find out their problems and difficulties. If this is done positively, I am sure we can curb corruption.
Impose a deterrent sentence, including whipping on the bribe givers and the takers, and offer handsome rewards to whistle-blowers and agency officers that offer information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprits.
There must also be a concerted effort on the government’s part, especially enforcement agencies, to wipe out corruption.
Nor Shahid Mohd Noor, Petaling Jaya, Selangor NST Letters 3 November, 2014