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The Notion of Corruption, Its Effects, and Ethical Issues

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The issue of corruption is a topic that is focused around the world. This is because the implication is large in a country if it is left over. Many leaders and individuals are affected by their reputation as involved and charged with corruption. Malaysia is also paying close attention to addressing these corrupt phenomena in order not to become cancerous. Based on the corruption report by Transparency International 2010, Malaysia is still ranked 56th on the Corruption Perceptions Index. This situation is certainly very scary and if this practice continues to increase, it is feared that it will threaten political, economic and state stability.

Why are the symptoms of corruption so difficult to contain? Are today’s society pursuing materialistic pursuits rather than practicing religious norms then forgetting the work ethic of professionalism that must be practiced? In any event, if the ethical principles of work are neglected, it will induce a person to make a mistake both in the legal state and in his / her status as professionalism. Corruption is one of the mistakes that violates the professionalism of ethics, religion and is very embarrassing from one’s moral point. In addition, it has implications in terms of law enforcement and its cost effect on the management of the country’s management. The Quran also mentions this corruption offense in verse 188 surah Al-Baqarah which means: “And do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly or send it in bribery to the rulers in order that they might aid you to consume a portion of the wealth of the people in sin, while you know it is unlawful.’

Definition of Corruption

Giving something to certain people with the intent to get something that is not his right is a definition of corruption. This definition is also synonymous with the word feed or feed bribe. These feeds can be in various forms eg lending, gift, fee, valuable collateral, property, donation or any other proceeds or benefits. According to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency, there are four major criminal offenses that are: Any act of requesting or accepting bribes. Any act of bargaining or bribe. Any act of making a false claim. Any act of abuse of power or position. Transparency International refers to bribery as behavior in civil departments or civil servants, politicians and officials improperly and illegally in law to enrich themselves and their relatives (family and friends). They are abusing the power and public trust they give to them. Corruption in Latin as a verb involving bribery or giving a bribe for the purpose of an individual’s interest or to seek wealth or success easily and promptly. Another name for corruption is tea money or coffee money.

History and Corrupt Practices

Corruption-related issues are often discussed in seminars, forums, media, talks and so on but it still persists. Bribery often exposed in the mass media is transactional corruption, involving the corporate world with governments or communities with governments. Extortive corruption occurs when the giver is forced to commit a bribe to avoid any loss of income or remuneration. In addition one of the most popular forms of corruption is defensive corruption that one does to defend himself. Corruption in any category, it can negatively affect the socio-economic state. From the historical point of view, corrupt practices led to the collapse of many countries and prominent leaders. Internationally, the fall of Ceausescu dictator in Romania who was fired in 1990 was linked with his involvement in corruption. Similarly, Shah Reza Pahlavi, the Iranian king who had to leave his throne abroad because of the revolution of the people of Iran who wanted their corrupt administration. Similar fate occurred to former President Filipina, Ferdinand Marcos. The leader was deposed by his own people for corruption and was forced to live in exile until the end of his life.

Ethical Intent and Its Relation to Corruption Practices

When discuss about corruption, he/she cannot run away from ethics. This is because people who practice corruption are unethical people. Unethical means immoral and bad attitude. Civil servants, for example, if they practice corruption, they are considered immoral, ill-behaved, and uninsured when carrying out their duties and trusts. What does an ethic mean? The word comes from the English word (ethic) derived from the Greek word ethos which means the attitudes and customs that determine the behavior of a group. According to Bauman (1987), ethical words mean moral principles that distinguish right or wrong. While Iwabuchi (1990) defines ethics as a social science and moral principles where ethics play a role in determining whether or not one’s actions are good. Uthman (1986) states that ethics is a discipline that covers moral matters and the right actions and actions. The moral word comes from the English word moras meaning custom and habits. Moral is a code of conduct that consists of custom values ​​and aspirations that a society receives from good or bad behavior. Ethics and morality differ in terms of reference but have the same meanings. In the case of widespread corruption practices, it is desirable that he is associated with ethical and moral values. Shaw (1991), states ethics is theoretical while moral is a practice. Obviously, people who practice corruption are immoral people. Uneducated people are also associated with immoral people. What is the meaning of morality and its relevance to ethics and professionalism? Morals refer to character traits, knowledge of human behavior either good or bad. Professional refers, the person who considers the individual profession as a major job and source of income. Professional ethics are also pure values ​​that must be practiced by professionals according to their respective professions. This professional ethics is necessary to practice the right course and to avoid the wrong conduct. The purpose of this ethic is to maintain the moral integrity of a professional. A person who practices professional ethics should practice the following: Providing services without favoritism. Avoiding conflict between self-interest and society. Keep away from abuse of power due to rank, position and information for self-interest. There are various theories that can be attributed to work ethic values. As an Islamic state, we advance the theory based on the Qur’an before other theories brought by Western philosophers.

Theory of Ethics

According to the Quran Based on the studies in Muslim’s ethics, the general concept of ethics is outlined by God. Surah Az Zariat verse 56, it means to state the responsibility and the sense of our willingness to Allah. Any unlawful act will remind us of God. The concept of wasatiyyah and simplicity shows that we need to be able to share and istiqamah in whatever business is included in the field of our work. This attitude must be istiqamah which is to continue in ethics and to do the work honestly and kindly. In the Qur’an, there is a concept of ‘forgiveness’ where all the errors are forgiveness. In organizing, we need to follow the rules of the company to get forgiveness. Managers involved in the work ethic and ethical issues of their employees need to compromise but not all errors need to be forgiven. For example, in a breach of trust or leaky confidentiality company should be reported to curb corruption culture.

The concept of retaliation must be believed by Muslims that, all prohibited acts will be sin and sin will be rewarded after the resurrection day. The futuristic attitude of the Prophet in evaluating the consequences and consequences of our actions makes us always alert as it is in the affairs of our profession. The concept of ‘rewards’, the good and bad retaliation of humans, even as small as the atom still retaliates. Therefore every human resource manager (employer) needs to have the value of rewards for the service and the good of the individual so that the relationship becomes harmonious. This can indirectly restrict subordinate employees to receive bribes. A good employer and practicing value according to the Al-Quran concept will not be subject to breach of trust and to provide non-halal results to his family.

Deontological Theory

This theory is derived from Greek ‘deon’ and founded by Immanuel Kant (1804). This theory emphasizes honesty, in accordance with the instructions, in keeping with promise and fairness. According to this theory, it is true or false that the action is determined by his religious beliefs. People whom sticking with this theory will always do good. However, people who adhere to this theory do not think of the consequences of obedience to him or to others. In terms of employment, for example, as our subordinates, we must obey the employer and the employer must obey and fit the company’s work procedures and regulations. On the one hand, this attitude can prevent a person from avoiding corrupt practices and immoral acts but from their implicit, submissive obedience leads to harm to himself and his family. In this case, we should think well whether something is ‘blind or not’.

Teleological Theory

This theory was founded by Jeremy Bentham (1784-1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) which is derived from the Greek word ‘telos’ which means purpose or consequence. This theory is in sync with Utilitarian theory. According to this theory, action is considered correct if the consequence of such action is towards the good. According to this theory before doing something, an individual needs to think about the good and bad impression. The good that is meant is the best and to be enjoyed by as much of it as possible. In that case, a rule can be breached if there is any better benefit. For example, ‘do not cheat’ is a common thing and it can be violated if there is a greater good. This theory is good if it means for good without breaking the law. For example, one should think many times over a feed offer because the consequences are huge. Not accepting the feed was adhering to a well-defined set of rules. As an employee who practices professional ethics, one cannot break the rules even for the sake of goodness. In Malay we call it ’Matlamat tidak menghalalkan cara”. Your goal will not justified the way.

Theory of Human Rights

This theory was founded by John Locke (1704). According to this theory, ‘a responsibility has to be carried out because everyone has a certain right’. Theory of Human Rights is a common theory for every human being. Based on this theory, every person needs freedom and peace for himself. In the field of work, one needs to consider the rights of the other person in carrying out their duties. Conflicts can occur when one is in conflict with the interests of others while he is still with his utilitarian aim of goodness generally to society. In Islam, our human rights will not be recognized until we can disrupt the rights of others. Our rights are limited without harm to others. What is its relevance to bribery? If practicing this theory, without practicing the moderation theory emphasized in Islam, a businessman, for example, will expand his business without thinking if it can put pressure on others. The ethical theories presented must be practiced but at the same time one should think prudently whether it is desirable or not. The effectiveness of ethical principles depends on the individual’s discipline and strength in restraining immoral acts including corruption. For the followers of Islam, the best theory is certainly the theory that is based on the Quran.

Personal Freedom Theory

This theory (Personal Liberty Theory) emphasizes a single principle of freedom. Based on this theory, all the rules made though beneficial to the community, it should be rejected if it conflicts with the liberty of being his backbone. Adhering to this theory, one has the right to make choices for their direction. Everyone has equal opportunity to make a choice. This theory cannot be completely taken over. For example, corrupt acts are beneficial to his family, but the wider impact it has caused others to suffer from. Among the consequences is the increase in the price of goods because of hidden costs (corruption).

Impact of Corruption on Organizations and Communities

Corruption, misappropriation and abuse of power provide various social impacts that can be identified such as social injustice. Bribery is clearly a result of social injustice, which affects the poor and denies the rights of certain groups. Poor and unaffected persons will be more oppressed because they cannot afford to pay bribes and denied their rights as citizens. Corruption symptoms also raise the cost of living with corrupt traders forced to raise prices for goods and services to cover these additional costs. This can lead to rising inflation and cost of living. The study found that corruption resulted in an increase in the prices of goods and services between 10% to 20%. Additionally, bribes carry risks that can endanger lives. This is to refer to developers and contractors who give bribes to those involved to reduce the quality of building materials and not to the specifications set. This will cause buildings or roads that can endanger the lives of the public. From a wider perspective, corruption can also threaten the security of the country with the occurrence of government leakage, illegally selling firearms, letting illegal immigrants get flooded as enforcement officers have received bribes. Law enforcement weaknesses will continue to worsen as corruption, enforcement of laws and regulations are implemented unfairly and favorable. Victims are those who cannot afford to give bribes.

Corruption symptoms can influence the development policy with the consequences of corrupt acts, the decisions for investment and development will be more influenced by the personal profits of certain parties or individuals from the interests and needs of the community and this can affect and affect the investment rate and Gross Domestic Product growth (GDP). To prevent corruption, and abuse of power, emphasis on improving individual integrity and identity is crucial. In detail, this effort is divided into two targets, focusing on departments / agencies serving the public and focusing on individuals serving in the government organization. At the department / agency level, long, difficult and slow review procedures need to be updated and simplified using the benefits of information and communication technology (ICT). The use of the form, screening process and the like should be summarized so as not to burden the public especially the traders, contractors and investors. A simple and transparent process can avoid the dangers of corruption because it does not have to be bribed solely to speed up the process. While at the individual level, the steps that can be taken are to strengthen and strengthen the identity of every public officer. High personality is the most powerful barrier to combat symptoms because if every individual hates bribes then this practice can be overcome. The power of identity can fend off corruption but no one knows and the opportunity is open in front of the eyes. Enhanced law enforcement and punishment are the basic recommendations that are often given by many. Investigations and law enforcement should be intensified so that the community is aware of the dangers and seriousness of corruption if it is not eradicated and curbed for national security. It also makes bribing practitioners think long before trying to commit bribery because of the heavy punishment that will be accepted.


Based on the above approaches and measures, it is clear that the government’s commitment is serious towards ensuring that corrupt, malfeasance and abuse of power are wiped out. The principle of transparency, accountability and integrity must also be absorbed into the mindset of the community, especially civil servants. This allows for a sense of responsibility in addition to improving their motivation, efficiency and workmanship. It is quite difficult to reach the level of zero corruption in our country in this material and glamorous era. But it is not hard to hate corruption. Hence, the cooperation of all parties including authorities in eradicating corruption is important regardless of the public sector as well as in the private sector and non-governmental organizations. The point is the willingness, determination and commitment of all parties in the community to bring good people and prevent evil like corruption. Corruption is an immoral practice and if it is not contained it will cause many social problems because the law is not fully complied with. This practice also creates a weak government because every time corruption occurs, the government loses its revenue or goes out of its proper course of action. The country’s state of corruption is widespread, losing its economic position. Due to the seriousness, attempting to address these symptoms, the people are hoping that no practitioner can escape the lawsuit.

As a civil servant, or anyone should practice discipline and regulation in his profession. Professional work ethics is the guideline for professional workers to carry out their duties in a trustworthy, correct, and in accordance with the prescribed rules. But if it is based on the ethical theories presented, there should be a modification of the holdings according to the situation in this country. However, as Muslims, returning to the teachings of God’s religion is best. Islam strictly prohibits acts of bribery as the consequences are so great for their country, organization, individual or their family. The government needs to emphasize this criminal enforcement. Make sure no one can escape the punishment for corruption.

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