Financial leakages is the key culprit of a nation’s economic downfall
The root cause of the collapse of a country’s economy lies in the mismanagement of funds. Leakages and corruption are cited as among the key factors attributed to the economic collapse of a nation. Financial leakages are noted as being the root cause or contributing factor to the downfall of civil society as well as modern democracy. Financial leakages may come in various forms. They include rent-seeking, misappropriation of funds, and also criminal breach of trust. Numerous examples can be found within domestic companies and government agencies.
Despite being a stagnating currency, the ringgit continues to be the target of speculators and scammers
Leakages and corruption are inextricably linked. Many leakages occur as a result of corruption. Corruption forms the core or basis of most cases of professional mismanagement in many companies and their subsidiaries. It all boils down to one thing – GREED. The greed for monetary wealth and the lust for material gain is as prevalent as ever. It is perceived as a ‘quick-and-easy’ way to instant wealth by circumventing the corporate laws and ethical practices of most corporations.
For example: when the boss absconds with his company’s trust funds; when an accountant “cooks the books” (i.e. the unauthorized amendments to a company’s internal ledgers or corporate accounts); or when a real estate developer pays a token fee to the local town planner to fast-track the approval of a company’s development project. These are merely several instances of commercial hanky-panky, financial leakages and blatant corruption happening everywhere today.
Too many corruption cases have been highlighted in the press and media lately. These so-called major busts are just the tip of the iceberg. Time and time again, only the anchovies are caught or apprehended whilst the sharks continue to roam free. Corruption is everywhere in this country. We hear news of corruption cases almost on a daily basis – when we read the papers, listen to the radio, watch the television, or surf the Internet. Corruption exists at all levels or strata of society – from the lowly man on the street to the highest echelons of political office.
Another good example of corruption is bribery. Bribery is more common than what we would like to think or believe. A taxi driver bribes the police officer on duty to let him off the hook; a housing developer bribes the local municipal council to approve his property project; or even a loving father bribes the dean or vice-chancellor of a local university in order for his doting son to gain entry or admission. Some might even say a little corruption will not hurt or do much harm. Yet, unscrupulous businessmen, fraudulent developers and dirty politicians have vested personal interest to protect their precious investments or ill-gotten gains.
General society has long been conditioned to believe it is appropriate to “grease the palms” of those in higher office or positions of power or authority in order to gain extra benefits as well as additional perks and privileges that come with the territory or profession. It would take loads of political will and a ton of discipline if we were to undo the ill-effects of this social menace which have been deeply ingrained upon our social consciousness since time immemorial. Apart from a strong will power or a will to change, I believe education also plays a vital role. To rid society complete of this scourge would be utterly impossible to say the least.
We need a more systematic, effective and efficient nationwide plan or agenda to tackle or combat corruption at the grassroots. We also require better economic policies to deal with financial leakages which could lead to greater corruption. We need to check the overseas ‘brain drain’ (i.e. migration of knowledge workers and academic resources from Malaysia) of top graduates and premier intellectuals from local universities. We need to ensure a fair, transparent and more balanced or equitable distribution of wealth within the country. We also need to educate the young and old alike with respect to the “evils of corruption”. And we need to instill within ourselves a greater sense of patriotism and passion for the nation. Above all, we need to support and buy more Malaysian products and services.