KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 ― Among Putrajaya’s biggest challenges to fight corruption is the presence of some “bad apples” in the civil service that are still loyal to the previous regime and keep their old habits, Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed reportedly said.
In an interview with Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, the top anti-corruption adviser to the government also pushed for urgent legislative reform to ensure that the scandals happening under Datuk Seri Najib Razak do not repeat.
“Bad apples are everywhere, it doesn’t mean you have to put up with them,” the Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Centre (GIACC) director-general said at the sidelines of a symposium organised by HK’s Independent Commission Against Corruption.
Abu Kassim pointed to GIACC’s proposal for a new law specifically directed towards high-ranking officials and politicians.
“If you abuse your power to cost losses to the government, or you use your power for personal gain, you need to be dealt with a law targeted against that,” Abu Kassim reportedly said.
Abu Kassim touted Malaysia’s climb in key governance and anti-corruption rankings, such as the Rule of Law Index by the World Justice Project, as proof of the progress Putrajaya has made since Pakatan Harapan took over.
In addition, a recent Ipsos survey found that Malaysians’ concern about corruption in the government fell from 47 per cent last year to just 32 per cent now.
“One very important factor is strong leadership and a commitment towards a no-tolerance approach to corruption.
“Today we have that with the new leadership, and that has a ripple effect,” the veteran graft-buster was quoted saying.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had earlier this month exhorted civil servants to stand strong against the draw of corruption.
Dr Mahathir has repeatedly drummed into civil servants that they must begin shifting their loyalties to Pakatan Harapan as the government of the day.
The prime minister alleged several times last week that some in the civil service were resisting the new administration as the crackdown on corruption has denied them the illicit income they enjoyed under Barisan Nasional.