Build Holistic Society: Systemic & Institutional Corruption

By:

May Leong, Janice Kwok, Aida Rahman, Hayley Lee, Ahmad Shafiee

Affiliations:

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Policy Code:

3d Anti corruption

Problem Statement:

Public sector corruption is identified as the most prevalent form of corruption in Malaysia1 with a multitude of reported instances of corruption, from individuals demanding bribes all the way to large scale abuse of power such as 1MDB. Corruption related crimes clearly cost wastage and diversion of much needed public funds, leaving less resources to fulfil human rights obligations, to deliver needed public services and to improve the standard of living of citizens. In addition, systemic corruption across the public sector violates basic economic and social rights, such as the right to an adequate standard of living2.
In systemic corruption, the purpose of corruption may also be seen to serve broader social and political functions rather than only private gain. Individuals engaged in corruption may be at least partially driven by a desire to fulfil a social norm (e.g., an expectation to help one’s race or religion), to accomplish political goals, or to attain some other end (e.g., maintain political stability and peace). In such situations, corrupt actions are integrated to political/power structures and social norms and becomes deeply rooted and self-reinforcing.

Value(s) and Belief(s):

For anti-corruption intervention to have a sustained impact, it needs to sufficiently alter the system, which means addressing the root drivers of systemic corruption. Treating corruption as just a series of individual bad acts will not work. Similarly, treating manifestations of corruption rather than the underlying drivers will not work; instead, broad-based, multi-pronged action is needed.

Proposal of Solution:

Social norms, entrenched interests, and collective action problems make corruption highly resistant to reform. To achieve and sustain gains in corruption control, the existing corrupt equilibrium must be disrupted.
Commitment to Anti-Corruption
▪ Punish major offenders, including senior officials
▪ Guarantee free and independent media
▪ Allow civil society organizations and NGOs to access information and monitor / report on public services
▪ Ensure ACAs - anti-corruption agencies (e.g., MACC) can work independently
▪ Appoint politicians who publicly pledge to support anti-corruption and maintain public accountability for their actions
▪ Include anti-corruption education in all school curriculum
▪ Expand internet access for all Malaysians
▪ Strengthen Monitoring & Evaluation roles in all public services and ministries

Additional Information:

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