Integrity is doing the right thing - even when nobody is watching

Opinion  |  R Nadeswaran
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | Integrity is a quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, or moral uprightness. It is a personal choice to hold one’s self to consistent standards.

In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty, truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions, according to Wikipedia. Integrity can stand in opposition to hypocrisy and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.

As such, one may judge that others “have integrity” to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.

The website of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), among others, lists some of the organisations which signed the “integrity pledge”. If you Google these two words, you would come across scores of organisations – public and private – that have signed it and boast about their “achievement” on their respective websites.

The integrity pledge bears no weight and for some corporate bigwigs, it serves as a smokescreen to cover their shortcomings. Many believe that once they sign the pledge, attention is immediately diverted from them and wrongdoings will melt away.

A scan of the proverbial cans of worms that have been opened since the new government came into power on May 9 will show that many of those involved in dubious activities have signed such integrity pledges.

As you walk into some agencies and departments, you will come across notices and banners on their “no gift” policy. Well and good. But is it working or workable?

Pledges and policies are not legally binding. Sometimes, while the right hand signs the pledge, the left hand is in the cash box.

The Auditor-General’s Report is a catalogue of cases where the pledge had been breached. But even the MACC, which drafted and arranged for its signing, is unable to do anything...

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