Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaking today at the Anti-Corruption Summit said when a country’s top leader (Prime Minister) is corrupt, the rest of the people will follow in acts of corruption.
“In a country when the top man is corrupt the rest will follow. The slogan was cash is king. When you say this you mean that corruption is the way.
“It shows the kind of government we had. We all know that when the top man is corrupt others will follow suit. It is important that government personnel must avoid corruption. They enjoy the same power as the previous government but the previous government abused that power,” he said.
He told the audience Malaysia have just emerged from a period of corruption.
“It had become the government’s slogan. Cash is king. But the people reacted,” he said.
Malaysians overthrew what they saw as a corrupt regime in May this year. The opposition Pakatan Harapan was led by Dr Mahathir, with the blessing of Pakatan de-facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.
Since then, the ex-PM Najib Razak was arrested, charged and is facing various court cases in the 1MDB kleptocracy scandal.
Dr Mahathir lauded the Malaysians for their efforts to change the government.
“Although they received money from the government, they were still against the government. They exerted the people’s power and voted out out the government.
“The new government must have an Anti-Corruption programme. The whole government machinery has become corrupt. We have a machinery that is defective which cannot easily combat corruption. The machinery must be cleaned up,” is his wake-up call to the civil servants and the political leaders.
He said the current government, having been elected with a good majority, is having a tough time. He thus called on the people to support Pakatan’s anti-corruption drive.
“We need everyone’s support. The cleaning up involves removal of senior officers. We need to replace them with junior officers who are not as experienced.
“But this will give us a weak machinery. But we are working to reorganise to combat corruption. We have four agencies which are looking at fighting corruption.
Dr Mahathir said under Najib, appointments to government agencies were from the party in power. They were not interested in implementation of policies but were making money for themselves.
They have been removed and replaced by professionals who are not party members and are tasked with cleaning their agencies.
This has been effective and there is no blatant corruption, he claimed.
“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Having four agencies ensures check and balance, if one agency is corrupt then the others will go after them.
“We have restored the rule of law,” said the elderly statesman.
He warned that should there be any abuse of power by any of the three components of the government, the other two will act against them.
He also assured that the current action against the corrupt is not to take revenge.
“The government has a tough job, having to fight corruption and rule the country.”
He also alleged there have been attempts by some to use the Tabung Harapan fund to try corrupt the Pakatan government.
“They used the fund to donate huge sums of money but we rejected this, we will be obliged and it will become a source of corruption.
“We want to punish the giver as well as the taker,” he said.