Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has been urged to lead by example on his reminder to civil servants this morning not to take what rightfully belongs to the people.
“Our message to Najib is practise what you preach. The best way to stem graft in the public sector is leadership by example,” said Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4) founder Cynthia Gabriel.
She said Najib could return the RM42 million that went into his personal bank account, allegedly from SRC International Sdn Bhd, the former subsidiary of 1MDB.
“A Chinese adage says that the fish rots from the head. It is imperative that Najib shows the way if he expects the civil service to be cleaned up,” she said in a text message to Malaysiakini.
Speaking at the monthly assembly of the Prime Minister’s Department this morning, Najib told the civil servants that corruption cases highlighted wastage by officials and would reduce public confidence in the government.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) recently detained the secretary-general of a ministry, his two sons and a former chief executive officer of a government agency in connection with corruption, money-laundering and abuse of power allegations.
Concurring with C4’s position, Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah said Najib should explain the RM2.6 billion donation and RM42 million found in his personal bank account and what he did with the money.
“His statement reeks of irony and hypocrisy, considering that the 1MDB elephant in the room remains unaddressed,” she said.
“Najib needs to get off his high horse and answer for the billions of ringgit found in his personal accounts first, before preaching to others,” she added.
There were many also instances of wastage in the administration that went unresolved and unanswered, according to Maria.
“Malaysians are disappointed and continue to be disappointed by Najib’s stubborn refusal to take responsibility, while ministers live the high life at the expense of the people burdened by rising costs of living and a slumping economy,” she said.
The prime minister has denied abusing public funds for personal gain and has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the attorney-general.
Meanwhile, Gabriel called for follow-up action on other high-profile graft cases, especially the case involving a high-ranking officer with the Kuala Lumpur City Council.
The senior officer, with the “Datuk Seri” title, was arrested in August 2016. He was reported to own 31 luxury condominium units worth more than RM15.5 million.
“Is the Attorney-General’s Chambers prioritising the criminalising of graft? Is it giving the wrong message, with the lack of action or delays? And allowing the civil servants to get away?” Cynthia asked.
“MACC’s independence must be fully upgraded in order to fight real and grand corruption. MACC officers should not be transferred out for doing their job,” she said.