Corruption cases in Asia a stark warning for civil servants

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 April, 2017, 4:42pm
UPDATED : Friday, 14 April, 2017, 10:56pm

Corruption is widespread on the mainland. The depth of this problem shocks the rest of the world, but to most mainland citizens it is not seen as abnormal.

It is not only China that has to deal with corruption, other countries in the region have similar problems. In Korea, the president Park Geun-hye is at the centre of a corruption scandal, and has been forced out of office following her impeachment.

Some high-ranking officials in Hong Kong and Macau have been convicted on charges of misconduct while in public office or corruption. All these incidents seem to convey the message that for some political leaders, deceit is something they embrace.

I wonder if some of these people would have committed dishonest acts if they knew it would land them in prison, sometimes for many years, because they betrayed the people’s trust. I hope all these cases in China and elsewhere in the region will serve as a warning to incumbent leaders and they will avoid getting involved in any form of corruption.

I realise that the route to becoming a top civil servant is not easy. They often have to sit a lot of tests and exams and face tough competition from other ambitious officials. But if they succeed, the rewards are generous. Officials who are tempted should think carefully before getting involved in any dishonest acts.

They must treasure what they have achieved and recognise the importance of remaining honest at all times and, when necessary, declare a conflict of interest.

Apart from the issue of what is morally right, being a dishonest civil servant is simply too big a risk. It is almost inevitable that once they start on that road, they will eventually pay a heavy price. They cannot escape justice.

They should adhere to the proverb, “Integrity is the best policy.”

Barnaby Ieong, Macau