02 August 2007

"Akujanji" contributing to integrity decline


KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 (ES) - The "Akujanji" or pledge of loyalty to the ruling government by academicians is one of the repressive tools introduced in tertiary institutions which is contributing to the decline in integrity especially among undergraduates.

Terengganu PAS commissioner Dato' Mustafa Ali said it was common practice in the 70's, 80's and early 90's for politicians from across the political divide to sit together in a forum at tertiary institutions, but this is not the practice now.

As a result, Mustafa said undergraduates graduating from local tertiary institutions tended to be docile lots who were not well versed in other matters apart from what they've studied at university.

"Once they go for a (work) interviews, they would not know how to answer questions (outside of their fields of study) especially on current issues because they had been concentrating on their studies without knowing current developments," he said referring to the Akujanji which made the system of education in university rigid and prevented healthy culture of discussions with dissenting views.

Mustafa said this in a forum on "Political Integrity with PAS, PKR and DAP youth" held at the Malaysian Institute of Integrity (IIM) here yesterday. Other panelists at the forum were Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice president Mustaffa Kamil Ayub, Democratic Action Party (DAP) parliamentary member for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw and UKM Institute of Occidental Studies director Prof. Datuk Dr. Shamsul Amri Baharuddin.

The forum was moderated by Malaysia National Human Right Commission (SUHAKAM) commissioner Datuk Siva Subramaniam.

The observation resonated with some 40 former and present academicians who recently endorsed a petition calling for the revocation of the Akujanji.

They said the pledge "not only inculcated a culture of fear, passivity and uncritical thinking in the campuses" but "it has also eroded the fundamental right of freedom of association and expression that is so important to protect and enhance if our nation is to advance".

National Integrity Index to be published by February

Earlier during a briefing on National Integrity Plan (NIP) IIM president Datuk Mohd Tap Salleh said a national integrity index would be published "hopefully" by February next year.

He said a survey of "several questions" would be conducted between August and October this year but he did not reveal the total number of questions to be included in the survey as well as sampling size.

"You never know who will be knocking on your door (to do this survey)," he said. The survey will gauge integrity on the area of curbing corruption, misappropriations, abuse of power and public service efficiency and delivery.

It will also gauge integrity involving corporate and business ethics as well as in family institutions.

Mohd Tap who acknowledged the declining integrity in the country noted instances of incest cases, corruptions and crime rates as well as a study which placed Kuala Lumpur among the rudest city in the world.

"We don't even bother to say thank you here," he said.

He also revealed a survey by IIM out last year where even government servants acknowledged that some of their peers were dishonest and inefficient in discharging their duties.

He noted the drop in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2006 to the worst ever at 5, despite the formation of IIM and NIP in 2004.

Mohd Tap also voiced out dissatisfaction with those out to question the methodology used to get CPI or to come with the conclusion that KL is one of the rudest city. -ES

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