Malaysiakini Opinion

The war against corruption

Dennis Ignatius  |  Published on  |  Modified on

COMMENT | "Behind every great fortune is a great crime" - Honoré de Balzac

We are certainly seeing things we never thought we’d live to see- the big man’s houses being raided and police trucks taking out a stunning amount of treasure from them, former high-flyers being blocked from leaving the country or summoned to appear before investigating committees, and once-mighty officials being probed for dereliction of duty, if not outright malfeasance.

It is certainly so encouraging to see our new government putting the fight against corruption at the forefront of its priorities. For too long the corrupt have plundered the nation with impunity; their day of reckoning is now at hand.

Hopefully, we will now see a proper accounting of the billions and billions that were looted through hundreds of shady deals involving many cronies and corporations. We should prepare ourselves for a series of shocking revelations in the weeks ahead.

But even as we rejoice to see justice being done, we might do well to remember that fighting corruption is like fighting termites. You cannot kill off 90 percent of the termites, for example, and declare “mission accomplished.” Termites, after all, have a way of coming back. The only way to solve a termite infestation is to eradicate it completely.

Likewise, if we truly want to rid our nation of corruption, there has to be an absolute commitment to zero tolerance of corruption. The singular message that must go forth is that those who are corrupt will be hunted down and prosecuted no matter who they are, how long it takes or where they stash their ill-gotten gains.

After the excesses of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s administration, the people will not settle for anything less...

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