Related News: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2023/07/12/constantly-blaming-non-muslims-for-graft-could-threaten-social-harmony-says-c4
Coverage by: The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: Linking non-Muslims to the rise of corruption in Malaysia is a dangerous narrative that could lead to social disharmony, says the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4).
Its acting chief executive officer Pushpan Murugiah said the perception is more of a political agenda to create an “us versus them” narrative.
“By creating a division between communities, (those issuing the statements) hope to secure some form of support or loyalty.
“This narrative is dangerous and can lead to social disharmony.
“There has to be more maturity and responsibility in addressing public issues,” he told The Star on Wednesday (July 12)
On Tuesday (July 11) Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor was quoted as saying non-Muslims are the majority of people who get arrested for giving and taking bribes.
Pushpan said he believes Muhammad Sanusi is relying on data extracted from a university student’s paper.
“From an academic standpoint, was the paper peer reviewed, was there proper analysis done on the findings or were there any other alternative papers with differing data or analysis?
“Furthermore, do we have information from government agencies to support these findings?
“More studies and research have to be done before any concrete conclusion can be made,” he said.
Pushpan shared that he did not believe that corruption was a matter of faith or ethnicity.
“Corruption is a problem that sees no skin colour, race or religion.
“It is an endemic problem that affects every Malaysian (in) every aspect of our lives.
“It has usurped every fabric of our society and institutions and needs to be addressed immediately.
“Our drop in the Corruption Perceptions Index and our third position in the crony-capitalism index are testimony to a larger, endemic national problem rather than a racial one,” he said.
He shared that there is no value in the blame game.
“Instead, there should be more concerted effort to eradicate corruption from our politics, infrastructure and society.
“Pushing for reforms such as separation of the Attorney General and Public Prosecutor’s powers, the reformation of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) into an independent body, creation of an ombudsman, more oversight on the workings of the government, and restricting the nexus between business and politics, while strengthening Section 17 of the MACC Act 2009 for corporate liability are some of the issues that need to be addressed.
“In fact, we should be looking at how to expand the definition of corruption within our society’s understanding.
“We need to extend the understanding of corruption from mere bribery to cronyism, nepotism, patronage and abuse of power, which are enablers that lead to grand corruption,” he said.
On Tuesday, Muhammad Sanusi was interviewed in a podcast where he agreed with PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang’s prior statement that non-Muslims were the reason corruption was happening in Malaysia.
“I stand by Tok Guru (Hadi’s) statement. As long as it is the truth, I will stand by it.
“You can go and check how many non-Muslims were arrested for giving and receiving bribes,” he said in the Keluar Sekejap podcast with former Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and former Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan.
When asked about the need for Abdul Hadi to make such a statement, Muhammad Sanusi pointed out that it was DAP that played up the corruption issue.
“DAP called Malay leaders corrupt and said they couldn’t be trusted.
“They had actually said that it is better to have non-Muslim leaders who are good than Muslim leaders who are corrupt.
“We can’t trust everything DAP says. We need to check the facts,” he added.
Asked if statements made by PAS in recent times would affect non-Malay support for Perikatan Nasional, Muhammad Sanusi, who is also the coalition’s elections director, said the statement was made to correct the narrative that claimed Malay-Muslim leaders are corrupt.