A systemic lack of accountability


Raja Petra was right. We have been ruled by the same masters for so long that the very practices of the ruling elite that we despise has, unconciously, become the yardstick by which we conduct overselves.

We scorn at corruption at the highest levels of Government but do not think twice about offering the police officer a bribe to escape getting a ticket. One may make the argument that stealing hundreds of millions of taxpayers dollars is not equivalent to offering a police officer 50 ringgit. But, at the end of the day, corruption is corruption regardless of the sum or the parties involved.

This is the reason why I am writing this article in the first place. I want to talk about accountability or more precisely, the prevalent lack of it among Malaysians.

To give you a basic overview, I am a Malaysian student studying and living overseas for the past 6 years. During the duration of my stay abroad, I have met a number of Malaysian students, both privately funded and on government scholarships.

To my dismay, a common topic of discussion among the government funded students was on ways and means to get out of their “bond“ once they were done with their degrees. Among all the publicly funded Malaysian students I crossed paths with, only a handful of them ever went back and worked in Malaysia once they were done. Fair play to them.

The rest of the students felt in no way compelled to go back and serve the nation as a sign of gratitude for giving them the opportunity to study overseas. Neither did they feel it was necessary to repay the loan once they were done and started working overseas. All they had to do was to head home or “lapur diri“ once they had completed their degrees and were “supposed“ to apply for jobs back home. If they came up empty after 3 months, they were released from their bond.

Most of the students I know found a way around finding a job in Malaysia during that 3 month period and
hence, were released from their bond. Therein lies the problem. These young, educated, future leaders of Malaysia felt no accountability for the huge amounts of taxpayers money that was afforded them.

The government in the form of the Public Service Department (PSD) felt no such compulsion themselves to demand a return on their investment. An investment made with our taxpayers dollars!

So, why are we up in arms over this entire NFC and EPF scandal? We are all complicit some way or another in perpetuating this systemic lack of accountability in Malaysia. We need to take a good look within ourselves and figure out if we are a part of the problem and ask ourselves what we can do about it. If we fail to do so and allow this malaise to persist, things will not change irrespective of who forms the next government.