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IT is heartening that over 400 independent organisations are coming together as “Rasuah Busters” to create a future free from corruption.  

Forging a corruption-free culture in a society where corruption is so rampant is much more than a Herculean task. It would take miracle for that goal to be achieved in one generation’s time. 

The Star in its report dated August 19 said: “In conjunction with Merdeka month, young children share their hopes for a corruption-free future through a series of multilanguage videos unveiled by Rasuah Busters, a movement to eradicate the chain of corruption in the country.”

Excited about what children had to say, I watched all the four videos. 

However, I was greatly disappointed. 

The videos only showed four children repeating the same statement in Malay, English, Chinese, and Tamil.

While the children did a good job in their roles, what they said were merely words composed by some adult. It would have been different if they were expressing their own opinion.

I thought it was a far cry from being a genuine “children’s dreams of corruption-free Malaysia”, as portrayed in some news reports.  

Efforts have been made in the past to change Malaysians’ behaviour on several issues, but without any success despite the huge amount of effort and costs.

The “tak nak” campaign by the government to discourage smoking failed miserably after millions were spent on “educating” people through campaigns, publications, advertisements, and huge billboards along highways.

A few years back The Sun Daily ran a two-year campaign called “red means stop” to discourage road users from beating the red light. However, the campaign failed to make any impact on the behaviour of road users, who still beat the red light frequently.

The Education Ministry introduced religious and moral studies in hopes of moulding children into being law-biding citizens. These subjects were even made compulsory examination subjects to. However, indiscipline is still rampant in school, and crime is still on the rise. 

A few years ago, the MACC suggested that anti-corruption should be taught in schools and proposed to come up with a teaching module. This would have ended up just like Religious and Moral studies, which did nothing to mould the character of children.    

To achieve a corruption-free society, re-conditioning needs to be done. This is difficult especially with adults as old habits die hard. It requires strong political will, which the government lacks, as evidenced by the withdrawal of criminal charges in several high-profile cases.

Corruption is the fuel that has kept the Umno regime in power for more than 60 years, during which time corruption has seeped deeper into the fabric of Malaysian society.   

According to Singapore’s former leader, the late Lee Kuan Yew, fighting corruption has to start with people in the highest office. It is a top-down process, not bottom-up as is done in Malaysia to placate Malaysians that the government is fighting corruption.        


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