Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Datukship and Zero Corruption

There are a lot of interesting stories about the datuks, especially those who received their datukships through backdoor. Besides paying and lobbying for datukships by all means, they also buy news coverage to be appeared in local dailies for a simple function like fullmoon or birthday for children. Some even compete in newspapers for the number of congratulations messages. One particular datuk has more security guards than the Prime Minister. It is not difficult for the public to guess what this datuk is doing, or what he wish to be protected from.

Such childish acts of these bunch of undeserving datuks has finally caught the attention of the general public. People are starting to voice out their objections, opinions and suggestions to avoid the society been flooded with commercial datuks. The people could tolerate no more with datuks who do not know how to behave, who with their arrogance and ignorance have tarnished the good name of the Sultans and TYT who have awarded them with such titles. They do not know how to pay respect even to the title they have longed for.

It is certainly a good sign that people are starting to openly question the rationale of awarding datukships to undeserving individuals. After the blogger brought up the issues of datukships in Sabah could be bought and lobbied, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Dato’ Rais Yatim said 10 states in Malaysia recorded instances of datukships been offered for sale. Awang Selamat in his Utusan Malaysia Bisik-Bisik column also talk about similar issues. Jeffrey Ooi in his Screenshot blog highlighted the same issues.

The world has changed and is very much different from the days went through by our parents or grand parents. A datuk or even a village head is almost like a king in his own society. He is so powerful that he could do anything he likes. But gone were the days where people pay respect blindly to those who carry certain titles. Even respect for the royal family members is filtered. Respect, honour and dignity, like we always know, can never be bought. It has to be earned. Respect, honour and dignity come from the heart, not from the mouth or a mere bow. Sincere respect comes with praises and well wishes.

With the advancement of technologies, improper acts of those riding hide on the social status are always been observed, evaluated and scrutinized. Words might not be enough to convince but these days whatever one does could always be openly or secretly recorded using a digital camera or even mobile phone with camera features. The public eyes are even brighter with the help of modern technologies. So beware, datuk, if there are claims, there are more than enough proofs to substantiate. When the time comes, all these evidence will be disclosed, not only to the local community, but to the world.

There have been enough examples of misbehaviour of the rich and famous which affect the ordinary folks (not that these datuks are extra-ordinary). The public is not busybody or jealous as long as their rights and intelligence are not challenged. If they keep ridiculing the public, abusing their status then they are pushing the public to the limits.

What has been exposed so far on the “commercial datukship” is only an edge of the iceberg. More shocking news are expected. These exposure have resulted many angry reactions from those undeserving datuks, heads of state and politicians involved. The more they cry foul, the more truth will reveal. “Siapa maka lada dia rasa pedas”.

In line with the Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s call for achieving zero corruption, all these questionable datuks should be thoroughly investigated. A webpage should be set up for the public to feed such information. Give the general public opportunity to supply valuable information on who and how so and so gets his or her datukship. Let the public inform the authorities on what these individuals have done in the past and are doing in present. Let also the public chance to reveal the extent of abusing of power and status by these datuks.

With such information gathered from the public, it won’t be difficult for the Anti Corruption Agency (ACA) to act, unless, of course there are individuals who wish to protect other individuals. If transparency were to be practised (with due respect to the Sultans and TYT), corruption in datukship dealings could be avoided.

In order to achieve the zero corruption objectives, there must not be any double standard in handling the matter. No one should be spared the investigation or review. Such will help to clear the deserving datuks their good names and regain the confident and respect of the people. We rather have few, but respectable datuks.

Commercial datukship is the breading source of corruption. When a datuk (grand father) rots, the anak (son), cucu (grand children), cicik (great grand children) and cicik (great great grand children) are rot down the line.

If one could use corrupted practices to obtain a datukship, there is no reason why he would not use his titles to corrupt others for bigger and better benefits and advantages.

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