On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Expect real action in graft clean-up

Corruption, he said, "interferes with the smooth running
of the government, interferes with the implementation of things we want to do,
and creates problems in the public delivery system".

These are strong words. That was not all – he promised to make the
Anti-Corruption Agency "strong" under his leadership and vowed to make the ACA
work faster and harder.

Last week, he wanted Malaysia
to do two things, as a follow-up to his pledge to clean up Malaysia.
He called for the setting up of a regional anti-corruption agency as well
agreeing to sign the United Nations Anti-Corruption Convention, thereby
committing Malaysia
to fighting the scourge through domestic laws and international

By signing the convention on Dec 9 in Mexico,
Malaysia has
taken the fight against graft another step further.

The treaty, together with the United Nations Convention Against Transnational
Organised Crime, provides the international community with several tools for
policing and prosecuting corruption and crime on a global scale such as money

But more importantly, we need to support Abdullah in promoting corporate
governance. Requiring company directors to attend courses on business ethics
amounts to nothing if the leadership continues to give special treatment to a
handful of businessmen through direct negotiations.

Every Malaysian businessman deserves a chance in bidding for a contract. It is
only through an open contract that the government can ensure accountability,
healthy competition and to ensure that the best and most qualified man

That is the manner that businesses should be carried out in Malaysia
if we want to hold our heads high. Rules cannot be changed mid-stream or when a
deal has been concluded. A gentleman's handshake used to be good enough, but
now, even with a signed agreement, no one is quite sure.

Such fickle-mindedness tarnishes our reputation, even if everything is legally
carried out. While the leadership must be allowed a free hand to decide on
awarding contracts to certain companies and individuals in exceptional cases,
Abdullah must certainly take a fresh look at our business practices and ensure
that the economic cake will be enjoyed by as many businessmen as

At the micro level, we continue to hear ordinary Malaysians complaining about
corrupt enforcement officers. The crooked officers, in the words of the Prime
Minister, are the ones who interfere with the daily lives of people trying to
eke out a living.

These would include van drivers or immigrant workers being stopped by the
roadside by enforcement officers.

Such checks are necessary if these enforcement officers are serious about
combating crime but it is another thing if it leads to other matters of a
criminal nature.

For members of the public who have been suffering silently for years,
Abdullah's fight against corruption is certainly refreshing. At the same time,
Malaysians are aware that they cannot have unrealistic expectations.

Last week, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung suggested that traffic
police be given the authority to fine traffic offenders on the spot.

He said policemen should have the right to issue receipts to errant motorists
once they paid the fine, adding that a maximum fine of RM300 be imposed on
traffic offenders and that they should not be given any discount.

No one can doubt Chor's seriousness and commitment in wanting better
enforcement by the police to help reduce road accidents in the short term but
not many Malaysians are likely to support Chor's proposal.

Most Malaysians have had experiences, at some time or another, with our traffic
policemen when they are stopped along highways. We have heard enough
allegations of policemen who asked motorists how they want "to settle" their

If they opt to pay the full amount of the summons, these crooked policemen
would discourage these motorists by saying that they would have to go to the
courts at the place where they committed the offence.

At least, those are the stories many of us keep hearing from our friends,
colleagues and relatives. I am sure the top police officials would have heard
the same stories unless they want to claim these cases do not exist.

Of course, there are plenty of good policemen, who brave the hot sun and rain
daily, to keep the traffic flowing. These unsung heroes, I believe, make up the
majority of our traffic policemen.

Unfortunately, their good work has been tarnished by policemen who are prepared
to sacrifice their dignity and pride for a few red notes. I am sorry to say
that the public perception of our traffic policemen is the result of this small
group of cops.

Allowing traffic cops to issue receipts on the spot is not going to deter
motorists from committing offences. In fact, it could get worse as dirty
policemen would demand for more from now.

The best way is still to send the summons to the motorist. Speed traps, manned
by policemen, often create unnecessary jams, and they lead to dangerous
situations along highways.

The police, with the help of the Road Transport Department, could stop renewing
the driving licences of offenders who refuse to pay these summonses. The
traffic police, with the support of the media, should also visit these
offenders at their homes if they keep ignoring the law.

Enough warnings have been given by Mr Nice Guy – expect real action from