KUALA LUMPUR – June 16, 2015: The nation’s pursuit to achieve a sustainable integrity level is being impede, primarily by those described as the elitists group, said speakers at a seminar on current issues here today.
Speaking at the seminar hosted by Malaysian Institute of Integrity, International Movement for a Just World (JUST) president Dr Chandra Muzaffar said the lavish lifestyle of the elitists is the root cause of many social and economic illness infesting the nation.
“It’s not just the politicians but also our economic elitists. The majority of them, tend to utilize their immense wealth as a means to blanket their illegal conducts and wrong-doings.
“We live in an era where government jets, bought using taxpayers’ money are being used as private jets by the elitists at their whim,” he said.
Chandra added that the liberalisation of the economy has also contributed much to the socially unjust remuneration and rewards system.
He lamented what he described as a huge wealth disparities between the rich and the poor.
In light of this, Chandra suggested for the government to review the minimum wage rate.
“It is disheartening for some urban dwellers to be paid a meager amount of RM900 as their minimum wage while the perks and bonuses received by the elitists were given beyond the consideration of the economic climate.
“That is why we have MAS (Malaysia Airline) chief executive officer Christoph Mueller revealing that one of the upper echelons in the airlines had even received RM 120,000 salary per month.
“As I am quoting him, this kind of deluxe remuneration systems is one of the main factors that has led to the financial crisis currently faced by the airline,” Chandra said.
Chandra also claimed that relatives of the elitists, generally tend to take advantage of their positions to secure government projects.
“This is unfair, even if the elitists themselves did not take part in the decision making porcess of awarding the government tenders, there is a high likelyhood that their relatives will win the bid for the projects as the decisions will be made out of fear or favor,” he said.
Hence he suggested for the amendments of laws to forbid any direct relatives of ministers and state executive council members from taking part in the bidding process for government projects.
“I know that out of their own accord, the elitists will never adhere to such motions. That is why the common people must consistently and peacefully pressure them.”
Such inequalities, according to former chief of justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad, has led to the public distrust of the elitists, especially the politicians among them.
“Why do you think the common people are no longer heeding the leadership by example slogan?
“It is because the people are no longer convinced by their (the politicians) fiery speeches due to their corrupt conducts.
He also said that the existing politicians, irrespective of their parties, “have weak political will to resist from committing abuse of power, corruption, graft and briberies” which has become a norm in the country’s political culture.
“Personally, I know that these politicians, in actuality, knew what is right and what is wrong.
“But these corrupted norms have been left unrestrained and unmonitored for too long up to the point that they think they can get away with it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Public Accounts Committe chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, in his keynote speech while opening the seminar called for civil servants to report any illegal conducts or wrong-doings committed by their superior.
He assured them that they should never be afraid to be a whistleblower as their identity will be kept secret.
“If you highlight the problems at an early stage, then we can prevent it from worsening. Do your jobs without fear or favor.
“You are all adults, you know what to do,” said Nur Jazlan.
The seminar, titled ‘Sustainable Integrity in the Public Service: Issues and Challenges’ was organised to discuss the need to heighten the level of integrity among civil servants.