PETALING JAYA: Young people are being led astray by the failure of leaders in society to set exemplary examples against corruption, as well as a culture that accepts bending of rules and laws, says a criminologist.
“A classic example is that our norms convey that it is absolutely acceptable to bend rules, regulations and laws,” said P Sundramoorthy of Universiti Sains Malaysia. “We cannot continue on that train of thought. It will only lead to acts of deviance, crime and corruption.”
Sundramoorthy said the “Malaysia Boleh” concept had negative qualities, which would make it totally unacceptable, because most people interpreted the slogan as a way to informally settle serious matters by compromising on ethical issues,” he said.
He said that Malaysia’s education system had failed to educate the young on the clear difference between right and wrong and good and bad.
A clear-cut distinction between these fundamental concepts had not been imparted. “We seem to convey the message that it is okay to do wrong or bad as long as you are not caught in the act and all can be compromised accordingly.
“We tend to forgive wrongdoers by not taking action against them,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail recently said that between 2013 and May this year, a total of 2,238 youth or young adults had been convicted for corruption, comprising 55.2 per cent of corruption convictions.
Sundramoorthy said social norms and values contributed to the prevalence of corruption in society.
“The high level of corruption that was so prevalent among the previous corrupted and tainted government officials and their cronies only further encouraged the youth to be corrupt,” he said
“Acts of nepotism further add fuel to the prevalence of corruption in our society,” he told FMT.
He said several major and significant factors contributed towards corruption among youth, however there was a strong correlation with the quality of leadership in government and business.
He said the concept of forgiveness should be confined to personal matters among family, relatives and friends, and had been too widely applied especially at the work place.
“How can we even forgive those who are involved in misconduct and corrupt acts at the workplace,” he said.
Those involved in corruption, misconduct, and deviant acts should be severely reprimanded or face criminal charges. “No more forgiving serious wrongdoers, that will discourage youths from acts of corruption and serious misconduct.”
The certainty and swiftness of action in the criminal justice system for all acts of corruption would be a major deterrent, he said.
This article was clipped from FMT.