Malaysia to Teach Lawmakers What is Corruption

W460

Malaysia's government will offer training to lawmakers to teach them how to avoid corruption, a key issue ahead of national elections that must be held by the middle of next year.

Malaysia's ruling party has vowed to crack down on graft, which critics say is rampant and was a major factor in the last vote held in 2008 that saw the party suffer unprecedented losses.

The country's 222 lawmakers will learn to identify and deal with "grey areas" in a one-off training session next year, said D. Ravindran, an official with Pemandu, a government unit tasked with addressing voter concerns such as graft and crime.

"We want to embed it into the system so no one can turn around and say 'Oh, I didn't know,'" he told Agence France Presse on Thursday.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and attorney-general are developing the course material, Ravindran said. The unit also aims to introduce similar lessons to school teachers and students.

In the 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index, released by global watchdog Transparency International this week, Malaysia ranks 54 out of 176 countries, together with the Czech Republic, Latvia and Turkey and up six places from 2011.

Denmark, Finland and New Zealand rank number one, meaning they are the least corrupt.

But critics claim corruption and cronyism are deeply entrenched -- from a few dollars paid to police officers for overlooking speeding offences to billion dollar contracts awarded to ruling party-linked businessmen.

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