Corruption and Getting Caught

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Yet another day, yet another story of civil servants being caught by the MACC for corruption.

But the good news is that the MACC recognises that in order to get the headlines, they need to nab people with a story to tell.

With the new Director in charge, the MACC nabbed a ‘Dato Seri’ (the only one) attached to the DBKL. Today they have gone one further with a raid in Sabah that literally netted hundreds of millions of Ringgit.

In the case in Sabah, it involved senior officials from the State Water department, who were caught with hundreds of millions of cash Ringgit in their homes. They have been remanded for several days, and the Dato Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who is the State Minister, in charge of the water department has been left bemused and befuddled.

Interestingly, it was not some time ago that Mr Michael Chia, a Sabah resident, was arrested in Hong Kong with RM 40 million in cash. He managed to evade any further prosecution on the case by claiming that the money was intended as a donation for Sabah UMNO.

The question then is asked – why is it acceptable for Michael Chia to have RM 40 million in cash, Dato Seri Najib to have RM 2.5 billion in his accounts but for the Sabah civil servants to be nabbed with hundreds of million in cash.

This is an existential question for those seeking to engage in corruption. The chances of getting nabbed, is it one out of ten or one out of a hundred. The official intending to be corrupt also has to be smart – if he were to be on the take and his superior is not making his cut, then he may be caught out.  That is why it is interesting that in the case of the Sabah Water department, the MACC arrested both the top two officials.

But is corruption all that is made out to be.

After all, corruption is rampant and institutionalised in the Malaysian setting. The general public may moan about it individually, but collectively, the public has consistently voted to endorse corrupt practises by the elite in return for defending “race” and “religion.”

Corruption seems to relegated to that of a person’s individual choice – to be corrupt or not. If a person intends to be corrupt and not get caught, they must go to great lengths to conceal it. This means to engage the help of other officials around them, avoid leaving a banking trail, which then leads to an issue on where to hide the paper money, don’t own too many properties and never drive flashy cars.

It seems those most dexterous at engaging in corruption will always fail at one of the above. They may not own flashy cars, but they will own a lot of houses. They may not have a banking trail, but they leave money lying around their houses. It always seem that they will fall short in one way or another, allowing them to be arrested with plenty of incriminating evidence lying conveniently around.

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