Rightly so, when the Pakatan Harapan government was formed after the 14th general election they had to deliver the promises in their election manifesto.
Among urban and urbane circles, the most widely anticipated was official investigations into the purported wrongdoings of government leaders, government departments, government-related agencies and companies such as Felda, Mara, Tabung Haji and 1MDB.
In the run-up to the general election, there was already concerted foreign and local reporting of the financial mismanagement and misappropriation of funds in and by these bodies. At its worst, this was seen as an unprecedented abuse of sovereign funds and the rakyat’s money. The rakyat were led to believe they had been cheated.
Underlying investigations of monetary abuse anywhere in the world are the usual allegations of criminal acts such as bribery, money laundering, malfeasance and CBT.
Research by authorised and unauthorised entities in the Malaysian cases doggedly followed the trail of corrupt acts by those involved right up to the political leaders of the previous government.
In the crosshairs of enforcement agencies like the police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and official task forces are the heads and management teams of these agencies and companies.
We can easily understand why the fight against corruption and financial abuse has to take precedence when we are convinced the new government means to wipe out kleptocracy in order to present itself as squeaky clean.
The very reason why the political parties making up Pakatan Harapan raked in votes to topple the previous government was their battle cry against the kleptocracy and corruption of the Barisan Nasional leaders. To be seen as serious, their playing field must immediately be strewn with a line-up of corrupted Umno leaders and heads of government departments and agencies including the GLCs that are purported to have abused their positions.
Thus we saw the quick establishment of special councils such as the Council of Eminent Persons, Institutional Reforms Committee and their working teams to lead government-sanctioned research and investigations for the purpose of advising the prime minister and his Cabinet on the appropriate line of action to take within the first 100 days.
We saw the axing of many heads among the top professionals in the country’s civil service and government corporations plus some 17,000 political appointees. And the purge continues today with daily reports of the unearthing of financial scandals and skeletons falling out of hidden cupboards.
Zooming in on just one of the criminal acts, namely bribery and corruption that is being rigorously uncovered by the MACC, the key questions to be asked are: If those charged are the takers, who are the givers? If the takers are being charged, why are the givers not being prosecuted and dragged to court in the same fashion? If there are thieves among the leaders who have stolen the rakyat’s money in broad daylight, might not there be their cohorts, i.e. the masterminds?
In simple language, corruption is a two-way phenomenon of there being the gullible and corruptible (the takers), and the truly criminal and conniving (the givers). Corruption involves the giver handing inducements to the taker. The question of who or what comes first is moot. Both parties are committing crimes and must be prosecuted.
In order for the MACC to be credible in its role and function, it must investigate all parties that are reported to be guilty of corruption, that is both the givers and takers.