His Royal Highness the Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah’s urging to the nation to fight corruption as a ‘jihad’ at the Utusan Business Awards 2015 event yesterday, receives the Business Ethics Institute of Malaysia’s (BEIM) full support and endorsement.
The sultan’s advice to agencies responsible for fighting corruption to do so “without fear or favour” is not only refreshingly encouraging but must also serve as a warning to those tempted to fall, sway or compromise along the way.
BEIM believes that corruption ultimately leads to the fall of a nation. It indeed is “like termites eating into the pillars of the country”, as the sultan admonished. Corruption is not just restricted to dollars and cents. It encompasses the four paradigms of human endeavor, i.e. the political, social, economic and environmental perimeters.
Power, greed, oppression and control - all of these can hinge on corruption if a society of people is not vigilant and responsibly questioning such exploits. And any leader who deprives their citizens of the space to demand for accountability and an acceptable degree of transparency of their actions/inactions is also harbouring corruption.
BEIM upholds this fight against corruption and believes that it covers thoughts, words and deeds.
For a country like Malaysia that plays premium efforts to demonstrate its religious inclinations; for a country dotted with numerous places of worship; for a people who always begin and end their speeches and events with a prayer invoking the mercy and blessings of God - corruption should never be a coveted prize or way of life.
BEIM continues to play its catalytic role in enabling businesses and policy makers to promote, sustain and build upon ethics in all their pursuits as ethics is the cornerstone for building and sustaining a corruption free society. Ethical thoughts, words and deeds must be the nation’s armour to combat the frail and prone weakness of humanity.
In this regard we ask all our leaders from all sides of the political divide and including our revered Rulers and the many institutions responsible for the good governance of a nation to collaborate, converge and consolidate efforts to enable the total Malaysian endeavour further, going beyond mere words, speeches, promises and slogans.
In this regard, too, we must uphold and promote the responsible act of whistle-blowing. We must also empower the consumer to act on and for his/her rights. We must not shy away from asking pertinent questions in the public space.
The fight against corruption must not be bridled or blinkered with admonishments to be ‘political correct’ or be intimidated with subtle warnings of ‘keep it within closed doors’.
Hence the nation’s leadership has a pivotal role to play in this fight against corruption. Walking the talk will inspire others to emulate ethical conduct - be it in political, social, economic or environmental pursuits.
To begin with our ‘jihad’ on corruption we need to break free from the chains of racism, religious extremism and see our collective roles for a greater Malaysia for all Malaysians.
If the exemplary nations in the West have done it, we, too, can. And we must. Only then can we say we are members of the ethical, developed world.
How many billionaires we produce; how many mega structure we raise into the skyline; how many decades we stay in power - these must never be the yardsticks of a corrupt free society. And we are proud to attest that there Malaysians (members of BEIM for example), who are making great effort to uphold ethics despite the daunting challenges in a society reeking with corruption.