Malaysiakini Letter

Bring back trust in our anti-graft institutions

Ronald Benjamin  |  Published:  |  Modified:

The current investigations on 1MDB seem to be a long-drawn-out process with allegations and counter-allegations that seem to be the order of the day, rather than a genuine desire among the authorities to seek the truth in bringing to a close one of the most serious allegations of mismanagement of funds in the nation’s history.

The greatest flaw in this investigation process by the so-called task force is that the prime minister, who is responsible for 1MDB fund, is still on duty as finance minister. Can this so-called task force that are made up of personalities who are perceived to be close and obligated to the regime in power for their positions, capable of presenting whole truth as it is?

Will there be a dilution of truth as a face-saving measure in a high-stakes context of political survival? Will action be taken against the highest office-holder if he is found to be connected to the allegation brought against him? It is something that Malaysians need to ponder as the 1MDB drama unfolds.

There is another interesting aspect that reinforces the doubts about the Malaysian authorities and the Malaysian Anti-corruption Commission (MACC). The reactive nature of responding to the report from The Wall Street Journal and Sarawak Report reflects a weakened state of institutions in fighting graft at the highest levels.

The 1MDB operations has evolved since 2009. Was there any proactive scrutiny among anti-graft officials as monetary transactions evolved? Why do we have to wait for the foreign media to present us with shocking revelations?

There is to much talk about national sovereignty by national leaders or groups related to the Barisan National regime, which are concerned about foreign meddling in the country. Did the champions of national sovereignty realise that developing strong institution that are capable of proactively and professionally dealing with graft in the highest level, without the help of foreign media, is also equally important to national sovereignty?

This is the type of contradiction that has basically put the nation in a dilemma and created a sense great mistrust toward anti graft institutions that are supposed to be the pillar of truth. One has to go back to the context of 22 years of authoritarian rule of Dr Mahathir Mohamad to understand the reasons of weakened state of our anti graft institutions.

The question, is there a remedy to this state of affairs in Malaysia? The remedy lies not only in change of structure or system of governance with its own complexities and web of relations that has preserved the power of the regime, but also the importance of going back to the ethical roots of spirituality instead of superficial, dogmatic and ideological presentation of religion.

Spirituality that encounters God, creates a decisive moment for renewal of heart, while ideological religion only tends to control and preserve power at all cost in the name of protecting religion and race. Therefore  going back to our ethical spiritual roots is vital to rebuilt our institutions, in bringing trust back that has been lost due greed for  power and control.

This will do great justice to those who trying their best to do jobs in fighting graft, but impeded by unethical politicians who are bent on preserving power at all costs.

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