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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Does it really matter whether one signs the Corruption-Free Pledge?

There have been some controversies over the signing of the Corruption-Free Pledge (IBR) lately.  Three states governed by the opposition have refused to sign the pledge, which was first proposed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Does it really matter if the pledge is signed or not? I wouldn’t dismiss the usefulness of pledges completely, but ultimately, it is always deeds over words, results over actions.
Did those who criticised the pledge do so because they lack moral integrity, or was it simply because they are disillusioned?   
Disillusionment can come about in many ways.  When we see too much pomp over real action, when outcomes do not match what we have strived for, when poor governance and corruption have become rampant, we may get cynical and become disheartened.
Seriously, which politician or state government is “foolish” enough not to openly sign the Corruption-Free Pledge? Are they trying to commit political hara-kiri?
Hard realities do not lie. If we suffer too much of a trust deficit, I think one extra Corruption-Free Pledge will not make a difference.
I can’t speak on behalf of those who refuse to sign the latest pledge.  But as an ordinary citizen, I think I can understand or rationalise their actions.
The message is simple: We formed a commission, upgraded its officers, gave them more authority and independence, and established numerous advisory boards within the commission to fight corruption. It is time to show results, no more forms, pomp and pledges.
I think the dichotomy between form and substance is too wide. That is why the opposition-ruled states are brave enough to defy the MACC by refusing to sign the IBR. To them, signing the pledge will not help to fight corruption; neither will it enhance their political capital.
The moral of the story is, “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”. This is a famous saying attributed to Abraham Lincoln on deception.
Whether we agree or not, this is what the pledge is all about – it is another pompous display or diversion, no matter how noble the original intention was.  - Mkini

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