Higher number of graft-related reports received as a result of govt efforts: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad

More corruption cases have come to light as a result of the Pakatan Harapan government’s efforts to fight graft, said Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Speaking at the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) in Laxenburg, Austria on Monday (21 Jan), Dr Mahathir noted that the increase is due to a lack of fear regarding the possible consequences of reporting such cases, as the new government exercises policies that are more open than those of the previous administration.

Bernama reported the Prime Minister as saying: “When we ask the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Comission (MACC), they said, surprisingly the number of cases is increasing”.

He added that the protection afforded to those who report possible instances of corruption under the Whistleblowers Act has also contributed to the rising number of reports made to MACC.

“Impossible” to eradicate “over-the-table” corruption: Dr Mahathir

Dr Mahathir also divided corruption into two forms: over-the-table, and under-the-table.

Bernama reported him as saying that it would be impossible to eradicate the latter form of corruption, as “people would offer bribes voluntarily for services from government officers” – the practice of which will then become embedded in society.

“When a country is on the under the table stage there is still hope to fight corruption as people don’t offer bribes but are forced to do so,” said Dr Mahathir, adding that values that are resistant against corruption should be instilled within Malaysians from a young age.

Dr Mahathir also highlighted that “nobody was above the law … in the fight against graft”, as seen in the Malaysian Cabinet ministers’ declaration of assets to the MACC, including his own.