AUGUST 24 — Shameless, that is what we call the children of politicians who insist their parents are innocent when history and the courts say otherwise.

It is an affliction the world over — the whitewashing of the Marcos legacy in the Philippines, the slavish adoration of the Trumps even now after January 6’s disastrous failed coup.

What is also a trend that should not be encouraged is the anointing of children to take over from their parents and the overzealous interference of powerful figures in their children’s finances or careers.

This feudalistic mindset in Malaysia has gone unchecked for far too long. A name does not confer skill, nor does it guarantee fitness for office.

Yet a name is all it takes to open the doors for the many children of powerful figures without regard to their talent or qualifications.

In other countries nepotism laws and policies exist. Yet here we are so loath to enforce similar things because we romanticise the notion of dynasties.

It doesn’t matter the political party — familial connections exist without a check-and-balance and the same goes in the private sector.

How ridiculous is it that many large companies in Malaysia are run like family-owned businesses and that mentality even extends to politics.

At the very least ethics policies should be enforced in the civil service and where government spending is concerned.

A general view of the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya January 10, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A general view of the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya January 10, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

No one with close ties to a sitting Cabinet member should be allowed to bid for government contracts — that would certainly lessen the appeal of politics for those who see it as a get-rich plan.

Where there is nepotism, corruption is almost always a factor especially in Malaysia. Why is ethics such an abstract concept in Malaysia?

Why is the notion that you should not milk the government of funds to enrich yourself and your family not considered heinous?

Instead, it seems this cheerful plundering of our coffers is considered aspirational.

That is the only thing I can conclude seeing how Malaysians are more likely to be angry about crispy rendang than the persistent wastages and outright theft that is well-documented by our long suffering auditor-generals.

It is there, on record, in reports year after year, of RM5 screwdriver sets marked up to RM300 on invoices. Cost overruns, suspiciously ballooning budgets and unqualified tender recipients.

You would think, with corruption being practised so openly in Malaysia, we would be better at handling it.

Yet the reality is corruption happens openly because it is not perceived as a real crime.

Until we can properly communicate the losses we suffer collectively as Malaysians when we allow corruption to go rampantly unchecked, the only future we can look forward to is one where we again are at the mercy of little lords who spend our taxes on handbags.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.