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PUTRAJAYA, Dec 10 — Corruption in the civil service has dropped to a “very, very low” level since the new government came to power, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
“At present, it (corruption) is very, very low. We have not really received reports about corruption ever since the new government took over. As you know, in the old government, all talked of government corruption.
“In a way, we have succeeded in reducing the incidence of corruption. But, of course, there may still be corruption and (it) may be undetected by us,” he said when responding to a question from reporters on how bad the incidence of corruption is among the 1.6 million civil servants in the country.
Reporters approached Dr Mahathir after he had launched the ‘Empowering Local Councils’ Convention at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC), organised by the Housing and Local Government Ministry.
Asked if there are any recent statistics on corruption, he said: “No”.
Asked whether Malaysia is ready for local council elections, Dr Mahathir said they are not on the cards, and added that the elections will create racial conflict and a wide urban-rural divide.
“No local council elections. Local council elections may produce the wrong results. The urban may be different, the rural may be different. There will be conflicts and, probably, racial differences,” he said.
Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin was reported as saying in July that the ministry intends to hold local government elections in three years time and such elections can only be done after “the nation’s finances and the economy stabilise”.
Replying to another question, on whether Johor will accept the federal government’s decision that Pulau Kukup be retained as a national park, Dr Mahathir said: “Well, that is the stand of the federal government. I hope Johor will accept. We have not touched on the sultan.
“All we have touched is that Pulau Kukup should not be developed. It should remain as a forest reserve, particularly as it is a special mangrove forest. We don’t want the mangrove forest to be cut down in order to develop the island.”
To another question, Dr Mahathir stressed that the land may be the sultan or sultanah’s but it could not be developed.
Responding to the statement by Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim that the federal government must not get involved in state land matters, Dr Mahathir said Malaysians and the federal government are not outsiders.
“Instead, we (the federal government) are responsible for everything that happens in the country,” he said.
The issue of Pulau Kukup emerged after a report that it will be degazetted as a national park to be placed under sultanate land.
On his granddaughter Melia Serena Mukhriz’s Instagram post where she refers to last Saturday’s anti-ICERD demonstration as ‘disgusting’, Dr Mahathir replied that she is free to comment, and said: “You can ask her.” — Bernama