“Malaysia’s great potential can only be optimised if the principle of integrity is upheld and there are no corrupt practices, while leaders or ministers are not racing to accumulate wealth.” - PM Anwar Ibrahim: Uphold Integrity, Reject Corruption to realise country’s development plan
Feb 27: The day after Anwar Ibrahim tabled his RM388 b “madani Budget”, hundreds maybe thousands of arrivals at KLIA had to queue up for up to THREE hours just for their passports to be stamped.
The culprit was, apparently, our Immigration. This wasn’t a glitch and it certainly was not a one-off: delays at immigration checkpoints are fast becoming a norm for tourists and visitors to Malaysia, giving KLIA a bad name. If our Immigration keeps this up - and, based on their excuse for Saturday’s congestion (see end of posting), we will soon see the numbers of arrivals falling. And that translates into losses in much-needed revenues for the government.
Immigration is just one of hundreds of government apparatus that need to buck up.
Take the arrest and detention of two secondary school students in Hulu Selangor for ranting on the net about their SPRM history paper. According to the chief of the police district involved, the 18-year olds were detained for two days “to have their statements recorded thoroughly and to fact-check with related parties, including (checking) the contents of the mobile phone and get a disciplinary report from the school”. They were released (to sit for their ongoing SPRM exam) only after the Hulu Selangor district police were “satisfied with the progress of our investigations”. Read Malaysian police defend arrest of two students over exam rent that “insulted Singapore”.
And we wonder why real crime, such as corruption, takes forever to investigate and solve, if ever.
We know now, for example, that some officers from some local agencies have been protecting an international scam operating in this country. Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Azam Baki said so here last week.
According to the Auditor General, millions in public funds were lost by various agencies due to negligence in complying with government’s rules or procedures and lack of proper planning. The Customs Department alone accounted for RM72.3 m in losses due to understated customs duties. The Prime Minister, in his Budget last Friday, said these were for import of vehicles. Some RM10 billion was “stolen” from the government’s diesel subsidies and another RM3 billion was lost due to inefficiency and corrupt practices of some agencies.
Not that difficult to trace the culprits, right? So why haven’t they been arrested and remanded, like those students in Hulu Selangor? Because, sorry to say, the political will needed is still absent. Our authorities will act only against traffic offenders, shoplifters and ranters while the big criminals go scot-free. And when these authorities themselves are corrupt, who will act against them? The MACC? And if the MACC is corrupt, who goes after them?
Excerpts from NST report on the excuse for Saturday’s long queue at the airport Immigration: