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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Siti Hasmah: I was offered bribes twice

Corruption has been around for a long time, says Mahathir's wife, but it was never as rampant as it is now.
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PUTRAJAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s wife Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, in what appeared as a precursor to the formation a new party proposed by her husband, had recounted her experience with corruption while serving the government.
“I worked as a government officer in Kedah and throughout my 18 years’ experience, I was offered bribes twice,” she said, adding that curbing corruption is the main reason Dr Mahathir is forming his own party.
“If you hear the circumstances, you will feel sad. And although corruption has been around for a long time, it was never as rampant as it is now.”
Speaking at a Raya celebration at the Perdana Leadership Foundation here today, Siti Hasmah said the first bribe offered to her was by a poor “kampung” man whose wife required a blood transfusion because of complications while delivering their child.
“I was sitting at my table, writing a report on the case. He approached me and handed over a RM10 note to ‘buy’ blood from the (blood) bank for his wife. At first I was angry, then I thought someone in the department must have convinced him that a bribe is necessary. So I cried and told him to use the money to buy food for his wife instead.”
The second incident, added Siti Hasmah, was when she was serving in Jitra, Kedah.
“Someone from Kulim wrote a letter to me offering RM50 if I give her a job there. I took the letter to the corruption department who told me to reply, and request the individual to come to my office.
“The corruption officers planned to storm in once she gave me the bribe. They filled my drawers with recorders but when the person came, we chatted, but she never mentioned the bribe.”
Siti Hasmah then questioned the authenticity of the letter, and wondered if it was just an attempt to test her honesty in carrying out her duty.
The point of the stories, she explained towards the end of her speech, was to relay the importance of sincerity and fear of God, in eradicating corruption.
“It will take a long time, but if we do the right thing then, God willing, we will be able to rid the country of corruption.”
In February both Siti Hasmah and Mahathir quit Umno, saying that the party has been “supporting corruption” under Prime Minister Najib Razak’s leadership.
Earlier this month, Mahathir announced that a new party is in the pipeline, and would cater to those who no longer support Umno but hesitated to completely switch to the opposition.
Also present today was the couple’s son, Mukhriz, who was ousted as Kedah menteri besar earlier this year and later expelled from Umno.

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