How should one perceive the ringgit for ringgit so-called incentive introduced by Sabah MACC for civil servants who report on corruption cases?

COMMENT

Once upon a time there was Shakespeare’s Hamlet who was caught in a bind, torn between “to be, or not to be”.

In modern times, in a perverse way, it is Malaysians who are now in a dilemma, wondering whether to laugh or cry at the inane ‘bribe for bribe’ bait by anti-graft agency, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

How else could and should one perceive the ringgit for ringgit so-called incentive introduced by MACC for civil servants who report on corruption cases?

It is bemusing and just as disturbing that Sabah MACC director Sazali Salbi has chosen to weed out the graft scourge from the public sector by resorting to “bribing” civil servants, that too “rewarding” them with the equal value of the bribe in question.

“Last year, only two civil servants, namely an Immigration staff and a police personnel, received the reward for reporting on corruption cases in the state, and for this year, a police personnel will most probably receive a reward of RM25,000, which will be presented next year.

“The lowest reward will be RM500 for each case involving bribe of less than RM500, but for every case involving a bribe of RM500 and above, the reward will be paid according to the value of the bribe,” Sazali was quoted as saying on Sept 9.

Puzzling indeed that despite all the brouhaha surrounding its corruption free pledge endeavour, MACC has unwittingly humbled itself – as seen from the monetary inducement for civil servants in Sabah to curb graft in the state’s public force.

Sazali’s justification for offering just deserts to civil servants-turned-informants is that it would spur more of them to report on such unscrupulous acts.

The incentive however comes with a prerequisite – it would be given on conditions that the case was investigated and the accused were charged and convicted.

Still, should the corruption scandal involve millions of ringgit, would MACC go on to fill the pocket of whistleblower civil servants with as much money? Where is the graftbuster receiving its “incentive” supply from?

A harrowing misadventure

Since there is much to be “earned” by playing spies, why would civil servants then bother with their daily work? Who is to blame should productivity take a nosedive as civil servants get busy playing “Dick Tracy” exposing colleagues who have a penchant for greasing their palms?

An irony that MACC of all agencies has fallen short of wisdom in looking for ways and means to tackle corruption among civil servants. If Sazali’s justification holds water, why not introduce a similar motivation among all civil servants throughout the country?

In any case, the carrot dangled by Sabah MACC leaves one wondering about the relevance of the Witness Protection Act 2009 and Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 respectively.

In December last year, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Razali Ibrahim bemoaned that many witnesses or potential informants opted to look the other way despite being aware of the wrongdoings perpetrated by individuals at their workplace all because they feared for their safety or the ensuing repercussions.

Razali then, said the public had no reason being scared exposing corrupt practices and abuse of power as informants are protected under the Witness Protection Act 2009 (Act 696) and the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 (Act 711).

“We assure the public that these two Acts were enacted and can be used by people to expose or to forward information on corrupt practices and abuse of power.

“The public should be brave and not worry that their (employment) will be affected (for exposing wrongdoings). Appropriate protection will be given to them. We need people who are brave in the fight against corruption and power abuse to achieve our goals,” he had said.

Razali while underscoring the importance of bravery made no mention of a lucrative pay off. Would enticement in the form of money not have a more drastic impact in attracting civil servants to tip off the graftbuster of malfeasance at their work place compared to the two Acts as mentioned?

Indeed, if money, often deliriously accused of being the root of all evil, can and has played an effective role in cleansing public service of corruption, perhaps it is timely that MACC fights graft the organic way while keeping check of the greed staring at civil servants-turned-whistleblowers.

Otherwise, the ‘bribe for bribe’ seduction would end up as one harrowing misadventure by MACC.

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