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Oleh/By  	:	DATO SERI DR MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD
Tempat/Venue	:	HOTEL ISTANA, KUALA LUMPUR
Tarikh/Date	:	28/06/2003
Tajuk/Title 	:	THE TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL 
			MALAYSIA NATIONAL INTEGRITY 
			MEDAL AWARDS CEREMONY
Versi 		:	ENGLISH
Penyampai	:  	PM
	    

        I  wish to thank the President, Tunku Abdul  Aziz,
   and  Members of Transparency International Malaysia for
   their kind invitation to my wife and I to take part  in
   this Celebration of Integrity in National Life.
   
   2.   The posthumous Transparency International Malaysia
   National   Integrity  Medal  awards  are   posthumously
   conferred on Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr. Ismail  Abdul
   Rahman,  Tun  Tan Siew Sin and Tun Ismail Mohamad  Ali,
   and I am privileged to present them this evening to the
   representatives  of their families.   The  awards  were
   instituted,  I am told, some four years ago  to  honour
   Malaysian  men  and women who, in the course  of  their
   public  duties,  have demonstrated their  capacity  and
   determination  to  confront  corruption  decisively  by
   upholding  the  principles of  integrity,  honesty  and
   accountability. I cannot think of anything more fitting
   than  this  initiative  by  Transparency  International
   Malaysia to remember and honour Malaysian men and women
   of undisputed integrity.
   
   3.    I  have  often enough stressed the importance  of
   good  values  to  be  believed  in  and  practised   by
   individuals and by the community in order to achieve  a
   peaceful,  progressive  and  successful  society.   And
   integrity is certainly one of these honourable values.
   
   4.   The personal virtues and qualities, as exemplified
   by  the  three Tuns, which we so much admire, are  even
   more relevant today than ever before as we struggle  to
   strike   a   balance  between  material  progress   and
   spiritual  development. Both are necessary  ingredients
   in  the  process  of nation building. We  have  seen  a
   steady  deterioration and erosion of ethical  standards
   of behaviour in both the public as well as the business
   sectors,  with predictable consequences for sustainable
   human  development,  not only  here  in  Malaysia,  but
   unfortunately in many of the countries we look up to.
   
   5.   These are therefore universal concerns, and let me
   quickly  assure you that while we have ethical problems
   at  our own doorstep, we did not invent corruption, and
   we are not an incubator that has bred some of the scams
   in  corporate  life that we have seen in  many  of  the
   developed countries, countries that have at one time or
   another  assumed the moral high ground to harangue  and
   lecture  us on good corporate governance even  as  they
   were busying themselves developing incentives for their
   companies  to bribe foreign public officials  in  their
   quest  for  contracts  or sales.  Many  of  these  OECD
   countries  went  so  far as to  offer  tax  breaks  for
   bribery committed outside of their own borders.  Thanks
   to  the  persistence of Transparency  International  in
   denouncing   this   blatantly  shameless   example   of
   unmitigated   cynicism,  this  ethically   unacceptable
   practice has at least been officially condemned, though
   unofficially  it continues.  This is testified  by  the
   frequent exposures of this practice that we read about.
   
   6.    I am all for taking lessons from anywhere in  the
   world,  but  I  draw the line when the  preacher  falls
   lamentably  short of the code of conduct  he  sets  for
   others in his sermon from the pulpit. That having said,
   we  must develop our own high standards in our business
   transactions that go beyond mere statutory  compliance.
   We must ensure that we stay ahead of the game as far as
   ethical governance is concerned because anything  short
   of  the  best is simply not good enough.   We  have  to
   compare our public behaviour with the world's best, and
   in    today's    terms,   according   to   Transparency
   International's  Corruption Perceptions  Index,  it  is
   Finland, the country that year in and year out tops the
   list  of the least corrupt and most ethical country  of
   those  listed in their international index. I  know  we
   have  some  way  to go, but given the level  of  public
   support that the Anti-Corruption Agency now enjoys, and
   the wide-ranging anti-corruption measures now firmly in
   place,  we  can  get  to be among the  highest  ranking
   countries.   We have to, because this country  produces
   goods for the world and corruption adds to the cost and
   renders us uncompetitive.
   
   7.   Our concern today is that in allowing ourselves to
   be  distracted and consumed by   material rewards,  or,
   calling a spade a spade, greed, we tend to abandon  our
   personal  values,  values that  can  make  a  world  of
   difference  to  the  way we order  our  lives.  I  have
   absolutely no doubt at all that our future as a viable,
   modern, and balanced nation will depend not only on how
   quickly  we  learn to master cutting edge technological
   innovations, but also, and perhaps even more important,
   how  prepared we are as individuals and as a  community
   to   recognise  the  importance  of  what  Transparency
   International calls a national integrity system. It  is
   through   mutually  reinforcing  institutions,  ethical
   standards,  legal regulation, and other  measures  that
   standards can be raised and corruption reduced  in  the
   public  sector  agencies. All this should  be  possible
   within  our  democratic framework.  Let us  not  forget
   though  that  it  takes  two  for  corruption   to   be
   consummated, the giver and the receiver.  The  business
   sector is as culpable as the public sector.
   
   8.    Let  me now turn to a consideration of corruption
   as   an   impediment   and  obstacle   to   sustainable
   development.   Corruption  obviously  is  a  cost,   an
   unnecessary and an unproductive cost.  Worse still,  it
   has  a  way of escalating, and so continuously reducing
   the  competitiveness of a country,  something  that  is
   terribly  important for Malaysia whose trade  is  twice
   the  size  of  its  GDP.   We just  cannot  afford  the
   additional cost.
   
   9.   Unless we fight corruption now, we run the risk of
   corruption becoming endemic.
   
   10.   Corruption goes through two distinct stages.   In
   the  first  stage the society regards it  as  wrong,  a
   crime  and a shameful act.  At this stage the  corrupt,
   both  the  giver  and the receiver,  would  not  openly
   practise   corruption.   There  will   be   signs   and
   indications   of  a  lack  of  integrity  but   corrupt
   practices  will  not be blatant.  The money  is  passed
   under the table almost literally.
   
   11.  It would still be possible to manage and to reduce
   corruption  at  this  stage.   It  would  certainly  be
   possible  to  investigate,  arrest  and  charge   those
   suspected of corruption, and so deter others.
   
   12.   But  unchecked, corruption will move  on  to  the
   second  stage, when it becomes a way of  life  for  the
   society.   Everyone  pays bribe to  everyone  else  and
   there is no need to hide.  The bribe is passed over the
   table, not under.  Nothing is done without bribes being
   paid.   And the recipient will pay also when he  has  a
   need for any service.
   
   13.  At this stage corruption cannot be reversed.  Even
   the  anti-  corruption agency will  accept  bribes  for
   looking the other way.  The police, the courts will  do
   the  same.  Anyone, any leader trying to put a stop  to
   this culture of corruption will find everyone including
   his closest colleagues and family against him.  He will
   have  to expose his best friends, members of his family
   and everyone if he wants to restore integrity.  It will
   take  a  giant  of a man to try and he  would  probably
   fail.
   
   14.   If  corrupt practices are to be stopped  it  must
   never  be allowed to go to the over the table,  can  be
   arranged, second stage.
   
   15.   Fortunately Malaysia has not reached that  stage.
   It  is  still possible to arrest and prosecute  corrupt
   officers  and  their  corrupters in  Malaysia.   Indeed
   every year we see quite a few being prosecuted and many
   had departmental action taken against them.
   
   16.   In  the  final  analysis it is the  public  which
   determines whether corruption becomes a culture or not.
   Many  believe that the big fish must be got at but  the
   minnows   are  not  important.   But  the  culture   of
   corruption  begins with the minnows.  They  don't  stay
   minnows  forever.  Some will get to high  places  since
   their   early  small-time  indiscretions   receive   no
   attention.  Besides, when corruption is tolerated among
   the  minnows, the big fish gets encouraged and  society
   as  a  whole would accept the practice.  It  becomes  a
   culture  and  the  culture of  a  people  is  the  most
   difficult thing to change.
   
   17.   We  can  have laws of course.  But we  must  have
   noticed  that  despite the laws, including  punishments
   such  as  the  death  penalty, crimes  continue  to  be
   committed.   Those  who do not commit  crimes  are  not
   really deterred by the laws and the punishments.   They
   avoid  crimes,  just as they don't take  drugs  because
   they believe it is wrong to do so.  In other words,  it
   is  self-discipline and adherence to good values  which
   prevent  them  from  doing  what  is  wrong  and   only
   incidentally because of laws and punishments.
   
   18.  Illegal gratification is attractive because of the
   obvious  immediate personal gains.  It is difficult  to
   convince  the corrupt that he will lose even if  he  is
   not  caught.  But in the long run he will have  to  pay
   up.   A country where corruption is a way of life  will
   never be able to develop, no matter how rich it may be.
   And a country which remains poor cannot possibly give a
   good  life to the corrupt.  He too will have to  expend
   his  corruptly obtained wealth on corruption.   In  the
   end  his gains would amount to nothing compared to  his
   colleagues  in cleaner countries.  And life in  general
   would  not  be  good for him, having  to  pay  his  way
   through for things that he should be getting free.
   
   19.   Historically the Malay states were  not  able  to
   progress  because of corruption.  The  taxes  collected
   mostly never reached the royal treasury.  Along the way
   much  of  the taxes went into the pockets of  officials
   high  and  low.  When a Chinese businessman  offered  a
   fixed sum much larger than the tax collectors were able
   to   collect  if  he  was  given  a  monopoly  of   tax
   collection,  the  royal treasurer  immediately  agreed.
   And  sure enough the enterprising Chinese was not  only
   able  to  deliver on his undertaking but he  made  very
   handsome profits for himself.  And as a result  he  was
   also   given  the  opium  monopoly,  a  very  lucrative
   concession  indeed.  And so the corrupt officials  lost
   everything.
   
   20.   The  British  colonial administration  terminated
   this  concession, collecting the taxes themselves  more
   efficiently and taking over the opium monopoly as well.
   The latter was the most important source of revenue for
   the British administration in the Malay states.
   
   21.   The  British also offered Malay Rulers  political
   pensions,  which in fact were bribes to make them  hand
   over the administration of their states to the British,
   a  virtual colonisation despite the charade of the  so-
   called  protectorate status of the  Malay  States.   It
   took  a  long time before the sovereignty of the  Malay
   states was restored.
   
   22.   This is a very interesting case history about how
   the   Malay  states  were  colonised  through  bribery.
   Clearly  a  country  can  be  completely  lost  through
   bribery  and  corruption.  And Sir  Harold  Mc  Michael
   continued the tradition of offering bribes to the Malay
   Rulers,  when  he offered to recognise the  rulers  and
   give  them their pensions and privileges if they signed
   the Mc Michael treaties handing over their birthrights.
   Fortunately  offers of position to the leaders  of  the
   newly  emerged  Malay  political party  and  5  million
   Ringgit   to   set   up  RIDA,  the  Rural   Industrial
   Development  Authority did not result in these  leaders
   giving up their quest for independence.
   
   23.   Malaysians,  and the Malays in particular  should
   therefore  know the dangers of corruption  and  bribery
   and  should avoid it like poison.  Unfortunately, there
   are many Malays and Malaysians who see corruption as an
   easy  way  to get rich quick.  If they are not  careful
   they  might  lose  their nation to the most  persuasive
   corrupters.
   
   24.    Rejection  of  corruption  must   therefore   be
   instilled in the minds of all Malaysians early and  all
   the  time  particularly among the young.   They  should
   learn  from their history and they should be constantly
   reminded  of how they lost their independence and  very
   nearly  lost  their  country  completely  when  the  Mc
   Michael  treaties were signed.  Next time the exit  may
   not be so easy.
   
   25.   Corruption  cannot  be fought  through  laws  and
   punishment  alone.  The most effective  weapon  against
   corruption  is discipline and good values.   Equip  the
   people  with  this  culture and three-quarters  of  the
   battle would be won.
   
   26.   It  is because integrity is so important  in  the
   life  of the individual and the nation that all  should
   support Transparency International.  May I congratulate
   the families and relatives of the posthumous winners of
   the  National Integrity awards and may the  winners  be
   the models for all of us.

   Sumber : Pejabat Perdana Menteri
    




    
    

             
 


 
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