Letters to the Editor, July 05, 2015

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 July, 2015, 12:05am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 July, 2015, 12:05am

Malaysia needs to beat corruption

After many years of attempting to eradicate corruption among law enforcement officials in Malaysia, it appears to have become a prevalent disease.

You constantly read or hear about incidences of corruption and cheating, from the man on the street to senior government officials. And Malaysian citizens want to know how prevalent corruption is in the country's law enforcement agencies. I have a pretty clear idea what the answer to that question is. But coming up with statistics to prove corruption is widespread is challenging.

What I want to do is provide an analytical understanding of contemporary issues and how they relate to corruption among law enforcement officials.

Research has shown that most acts of corruption are a result of unethical conduct of a few officers, what I call the rotten apple theory.

However, based on the recent incidences in Malaysia with human slave camps and mass graves, common sense dictates that the rotten apple theory does not apply in this most inhumane and intolerable instance. It goes behond a few corrupt officers. So it is clear that systematic and organised corruption is flourishing. Even Malaysia's prime minister, Najib Razak, has said there is an urgent need to address law enforcement corruption and misconduct with regard to the discovery of slave camps and mass graves.

Organisational characteristics, such as nepotism and cronyism in law enforcement agencies, are weaknesses that make corrupt acts and unethical behaviour the norm. Existing anti-corruption laws need to be amended. For example (unlike Hong Kong), the fact that an officer has unaccounted wealth does not by itself prove they are guilty of bribery.

We must provide the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission with the laws it needs to effectively investigate cases of corruption. Parliament can change the laws where necessary, but there must be a willingness among MPs to do so. Most importantly, people need to be deterred from giving bribes, and those who receive them must also be prosecuted.

If found guilty, they must be fired from their jobs and imprisoned. The key is zero tolerance with no exceptions.

There is an urgent need to fix this problem, and our leaders must act without fear or favour. Corruption destroys the very delicate fabric of civil society.

P. Sundramoorthy, associate professor, school of social sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia

ICAC merits credit for fight against graft

I agree with correspondents who have said that Hong Kong must stay vigilant in the fight against corruption.

It is important in a society to have a government that is free of corruption.

The Hong Kong government recognised this, which is why it established the Independent Commission Against Corruption in 1974. It cooperates with similar agencies abroad. Internationally, the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition is the world's largest non-profit organisation devoted to protecting intellectual property and deterring counterfeiting.

It is good that such organisations exist. There are a lot of greedy people in the world who are willing to get involved in graft to make more money.

The ICAC will target such dishonest people in Hong Kong. I admire its work, because it treats all citizens in the same way. No one gets special treatment.

Lam Chi-yan, Kowloon Tong 

In punishing,leave no doubtof child's error

Some correspondents have criticised the use of corporal punishment by parents.

I believe reasonable physical punishment is acceptable in the home.

It should be used with the purpose of making it clear to children that they did wrong and should not do it again.

It sends the message to children that some behaviour is considered to be simply unacceptable.

However, it should not be used if, for example, a child gets a bad report from school.

Other punishments are appropriate for not working hard enough in their studies, such as not letting them play computer games for a week. And if they behave well, they should be rewarded.

If parents punish their children in whatever way, they must always explain clearly why the child is being disciplined.

If they do not make it clear, the children will keep misbehaving.

Not punishing sons and daughters at all is also unacceptable, as then these children will become spoilt and keep repeating their acts of bad behaviour.

Winnie Lui, Tseung Kwan O

Workplace still sees gender discrimination

The time has never been better for women to hold positions of leadership.

In different walks of life, women are often in prominent positions, changing and shaping the economic, social and political landscape. However, there is still gender discrimination in the workplace.

Thankfully, this is changing. The 21st century has seen a dramatic shift in traditional family dynamics. Legislation has gradually helped pull apart gender role divisions in companies. Many women are nowadays economically independent.

Gender discrimination in the workplace can be defined as any action or statement against someone because of their gender. It usually stems from sexual stereotyping.

It is easy to see how it can happen as many people, in forming a first impression of someone, judge them by their gender.

A typical form of stereotyping is seeing women as being short-sighted and indecisive when it comes to making important decisions in the workplace. Bosses who hold those views are unlikely to promote women to prominent administrative positions in the company.

By the same token, stereotyping of males implies they have a lot of stamina to do their work, but can be careless and do not pay attention to the finer details.

If we are to see gender discrimination finally end in the workplace, everyone has a role to play. Colleagues must learn to treat each other equally and not judge people based on their gender, and employers must adopt a similar attitude.

Chan Tsz-ting, Yau Yat Chuen

Youths should do civic duty out of desire

I understand why schools set up volunteer programmes, but they should never force students to do voluntary work.

If youngsters are made to do this kind of work, it will become meaningless to them.

The original aim of such schemes is to encourage students to participate in society. It is hoped they then learn to care about social issues. Forcing them to do voluntary work without helping them to develop civic awareness is putting the cart before the horse.

Before any volunteer programme is introduced in a school, teachers should first talk to their students about the importance of civic responsibility and raise their awareness of society. And they should encourage them rather than force them to do voluntary work.

Joyce Chung Nga-lok, Kowloon Tong