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Corruption: Causes, Effects, and Ways to Prevent

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Recently, the World Bank and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) spotlighted on corruption by declaring it as the number one enemy in public. It was a threat at the global level and also in Malaysia. According to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (2016), corruption may be described as an act of awarding or accepting payment or reward in the form of high-value or in-kind money to perform a task in relation to its job description.

Many causes lead to corruption. According to Sumah (2018), corruption trends are heavily influenced by the political and economic environment. Individuals are willing to pay or give compensation to escape restrictions where officials are allowed to decide based on discretion under the regulation. Besides, the lack of professional ethics and deficient laws can regulate corruption. It also leads to a lack of accountability and supervisory institutions. Other than that, habits, customs, traditions and demography can cause corruption. Sumah (2018) states that various countries have different attitudes toward corruption. Then, there are different customs as well; in some cases, a ‘thank you’ in the form of a service gift is an expression of courtesy, and elsewhere it is considered corruption.

Rasuah (2013) also maintains that personal weaknesses are the causes of the person himself to do corruption. Their attitudes toward living in a luxurious lifestyle make them wanted to do corruption due to a lack of morals and ethics. Leadership weaknesses are also the major cause of corruption. Leadership that is inefficient and weak leads to less supervision and monitoring towards the employees. Furthermore, modern developmental factors can increase the rate of corruption. Developers wanted to get a good deal and place for their projects and construction. To get the deal, they willing to pay it at higher costs. Last but not least, corruption happens due to social and cultural factors. As we can observe in today’s life, money or gifts are given to a certain person that achieves good results or performance. In our eyes, we do not consider it as an act of corruption. But when the person that gives the money or gift has a different intention, somehow it will be considered as corruption.

Corruption can affect people, society and the economy. “15 effects of corruption” (2019) states that corruption causes a great impact on people. There will be a lack of quality in services. People might need to pay for it to demand quality. This can be seen in many areas, such as electricity, distribution of aid funds and so on. Other than that, we as the people will experience a lack of proper justice. People will suffer due to inadequate justice where there is a lack of evidence or even the facts are being removed. It helps the criminals to roam freely to carry out even more crimes. According to “15 effects of corruption” (2019), corruption can cause chances of unemployment. Even if there are well-qualified people want a position in a company or workplace, they are not going to be offered. If the employers did not corrupt, there would be a chance for more jobs. Apart from that, there will be a failure of genuine research. Specific research needs funding from the government. So, some of the agencies in procurement have corrupt officers. Such people approve research funds for those researchers who can bribe them.

Similarly, society will also be affected by corruption. Disregards for officials will occur. People started to disregard the corrupted official by talking about him or her negatively. Often, disrespect for officials may generate mistrust. Even the lower-ranking officers would ignore the higher-ranking officers. Moreover, the corruption phenomenon can cause a lack of respects for rulers. If politicians engage in corruption, people who know that will lose respect for them and will not like to vote for such politicians. The public will lose respect towards the rulers of the nation such as the prime minister or presidents. “15 effects of corruption” (2019) also mentioned that corruption could cause a lack of faith and trust in the government. Citizens vote based on their confidence towards him or her to become a leader. Yet people lose faith in them if they find themselves involved in corruption and may not vote for the next time. Not only that, aversion for joining the posts linked to corruption could also happen. Sincere, honest and hard-working people develop an aversion to the post though they like it because they believe that if they get into the post they also need to be involved in corruption.

Then, the country’s economy would also be affected by corruption. According to “15 effects of corruption” (2019), a decrease in foreign investment could occur due to corruption. There are many cases in which foreign investment in developing countries has gone back due to heavy bribery in government bodies. Delay in economic growth and lack of development also cause corruption. If the area is unsuitable, most new industries willing to start in a particular region will change their plans. The businesses don’t want to start up there if there are no good highways, water, and electricity. This hinders the region’s economic progress. Corruption can cause differences in trades ratios. Some countries have inefficient institutes of standard control. In other words, these standard institutes of control are corrupt in being able to approve products of low quality for sale in their country.

The activity of corruption can happen everywhere. But there are a few places that corruption is most likely to occur or known as “hot-spot”. According to “5 ways to reduce corruption and places where it exists” (2016), corruption can occur at a government official, whose job is to examine, report and keep all records of lands. Recently, there have been many court cases that are rooted in a land dispute. About this agency, if people pay attention to professional responsibility, land disputes can be reduced significantly or resolved more quickly. This would account for a fairly large bribery regulation. The medical sector is another form of career in which corruption is rampant. Across villages and cities, there are many state hospitals and public health centers. But the common people are hardly ever treated properly in government hospitals. There are inadequate medications and other services required for public hospitals. The poor, who rely only on government hospitals, suffer because they are unable to afford treatment. “5 ways to reduce corruption and places where it exists” (2016) states that the revenue department can be a place where corruption happens. A fairly large number of workers are unethical. They take bribes and leave the person who did not pay the tax off the hook. For example, the payment on the income tax. Not only that, the police and officers department is one of the places that leads to corruption. We are surrounded by a lot of violence and criminals are doing their job without fear. It is due to some of the officers that did not serious towards their profession. Last but not least, is the department of the judiciary (“5 ways to reduce corruption and places where it exists”, 2016). In our country, the justice system is very delayed. As a result, the number of cases increases every day. If the trials are quick, people may see that they will have to face punishment if they do wrong or commit any crimes. People will, therefore, attempt to bribe.

Corruption can occur in any situation and place. Firstly, it occurs when the policies and procedures are absent, unclear or not adequately enforced. Due to that situation, people will not take it for granted and ignoring all the policies stated. Secondly, it is when the employee’s training is inadequate. The training is designed to increase the technical skills, knowledge, efficiency, and ethics to do any specific job in a much better way. But nowadays, this kind of training is not being practiced and this situation causes employees loyalty towards that one company decreased. Besides, it happens when checks such as audits are lacking. Audit techniques are used by auditors to determine the quality of their client’s financial information. When the auditors did not regularly check the financial information, the clients can easily cheat with the other third party. “Conditions that may allow corruption to occur” mentioned that corruption arises when communication and reporting lines are unclear. Communication lines may include a chain of command requiring workers to interact only with their immediate supervisor rather than taking feedback or complaints directly to higher-level members on the organization chart. Some of the irresponsible supervisors will take this chance to do unethical activities without the higher-level members’ permission. Another situation corruption takes place is when the employee’s supervision and performance are inadequate. When the employee himself felt that his or her performance is declining, this will cause disappointment towards the employers. To make things back as normal, the employees will give bribe to the employers for the sake of their career’s future. Corruption can develop when employees have a high level of discretion in their decision making. Discretion occurs when the workers have the right to choose whether to act or not, approve or not or agree under conditions. Thus, some of them will turn their backs upon certain conditions because they already take a bribe from the specific person. Also, this unethical issue happens when employees have developed a close relationship with the external stakeholders. Lastly, it happens when accepted ethical standards are lacking. Ethical standards such as responsibilities, honesty, transparency, and fairness do not being practice daily by the public, employees, and employers. Lacking this such ethical standards can cause the level of corruption in our country to rise drastically.

There are many ways to prevent corruption. According to “Rasuah: Faktor, kesan dan langkah pencegahan” (2013), corruption can be avoided by law enforcement. It is to ensure that the corrupt practitioner to think twice before they do or take a bribe. Heavy punishment should be given to them and the public will realize the danger of corruption. Moreover, through an awareness campaign, corruption can also be curb. The government and the non-government should collaborate to hold an awareness campaign about corruption to the public. So the public would have a clear idea about the disadvantages of corruption and the effect towards them. The establishment of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) or known as Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah (SPRM) is one of the steps to ward off corruption issues. The MACC should plan and implement a programme related to anti-corruption in every sector. It is to make sure that the programme runs smoothly through smart partnership collaboration. “Rasuah: Faktor, kesan dan langkah pencegahan” (2013), states that corruption can be prevented by the application of good values in schools. School education in the fight against corruption could be both formal and informal. The components of anti-corruption education could be included in the general education curriculum at the formal level. For the informal level, it can be included in civic movements, student conferences, and other related activities. Last but not least is through religious education from childhood. Every religion teaches their people about good moral ethics and discourage their people to do bad things that can cause harm to themselves. It is the parent’s responsibility to teach their children from a young age about the consequences of corruption and build good moral ethics inside each of their child’s minds.

In conclusion, the public and the government should cooperate to curb this corruption issue. So, our country’s reputation remains clean and from any corruption cases or issues. Hence, our country’s economy still maintains and is stable for a long period and become more progressive in the future.

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