01 March 2010

Guidelines will benefit all, says Transparency

NST
2010/02/28

KUALA LUMPUR: Proper guidelines on political corruption will benefit the government and the people, said Transparency International Malay-sia deputy president Prof Datuk Mohamad Ali Hasan,
"The definition of what constitutes corruption in politics will improve the public's perception of the government and those holding high office," he said.

Ali added: "But the definition should not be static and must take into account the diverse cultures of the country."

He said defining corruption by politicians must be assessed on the three parameters of intention, amount and occasion.

"If duit kopi or a small token is given without any bad intention, it is ok. But if the amount given is way beyond the means of the recipient, then it is corruption.

"Also, if money or hampers are given during festive seasons, such as Chinese New Year, which is customary, then it is ok."

In the case of "support letters", however, he said it was good move to draw the line.

"Several agencies have stopped doing this, which is good.

"Civil servants receiving such letters are put in a spot and the public may misinterpret it."

However, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), in a statement posted on its website, said that the issuance of a support letter "by individual or company" was not in itself an offence, but becomes one when the letter is:

- Issued to an individual or company where the individual, his relative or an acquaintance has an interest;

- If a person has to pay for the issuance of the support letter; and,

- If the individual or relative or acquaintance is promised or offered any award if the project is successful due to the issuance of the support letter.

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