13 June 2007

CORRUPTION: Instil values early on


Abdul Aziz Saad

I REFER to the commentary by Tunku Abdul Aziz ("Where justice was swift and sure" — NST, May 27).

Although I left the Forestry Department some 25 years ago, I was jolted by some of the statements made by Tunku Abdul Aziz about forest officers and corruption.

Any ex-officer, and the incumbent for that matter, would feel uncomfortable with the statement, although to all intents and purposes, he meant well.

I agree that Sulaiman Nor- din, the forest officer mentioned in the commentary, was an honest, hardworking and principled man. But there were also many others who shared the same attributes.

To say "he was not going to be part of corruption, no matter what the material cost to him personally. He resigned, as he had obviously become the odd man out, and knew that the Department of Forestry was not an option for an honest professional", is to insinuate that everybody in the department was bad.
This is not fair to many officers of the department.

There is no denying that corruption existed in the department.

For as long as there are opportunities and unprincipled people who succumb to greed, lust and temptation, corruption is here to stay.

Accepting the fact that corruption cannot be obliterated altogether, how do we go about suppressing it?

There is no shortage of rules and regulations under the relevant laws to deal with corruption.

Logically, full enforcement is the solution.

But again, the elements of dishonesty, favouritism and shenanigans can still creep in to negate its effectiveness.

It looks like while all steps and efforts are taken to fight corruption in the present circumstances, the future generation needs to be imbued with moral and social values and principles, so as to be opposed to corruption from the very beginning.

Schools are the right starting point.

No comments: