Entitlement precedes corruption

There were no surprises in last week’s Umno general assembly. It was business as usual with the leaders making the usual “Malay first” pronouncements by bandying about racist-like slogans like “Melayu baru”, “DAP racists” and claiming their entitled position to form a unity government and be a government-in-waiting.

Typically old Umno which underplayed the younger voices desiring a clearer direction and a commitment to form a strong opposition in step with the current realities of abiding by the will of the people which threw them out of office.

It’s a real pity. The old guard had a chance to reinvent themselves by shedding off the attitude of entitlement to government and the resources available to them through it and learn to start all over again by working for an honest living.

Politicians — in fact, everyone in public office — need to realise that they are not entitled to government positions and funds. It’s no one’s right to be in government or be a minister or prime minister — unless they are elected into office. If the people give them that right, they must take it and use the position and funds to help the people — not make themselves wealthy!

Public servants have to work hard honestly to earn a living. That’s what Umno politicians can do now: Set an example for others and work hard at being an effective opposition to bring benefits to their supporters instead of finding short-cuts to position and funds.

The entitled might find it hard to simply work hard and earn honest wages. These are the people with the attitude that they have a right to the nation’s wealth because they are citizens. This is their country and the government should give to them.

True. Every citizen has a right to the nation’s wealth but they must work hard to get it not sit back and think that it’s the government’s job to give and theirs to take. It’s this attitude of entitlement that has opened the door to corruption in the civil service. It has permeated the civil service right down to the lowest rung of staff. Nothing gets done until there’s some greasing of palms. And, it’s very open.

Everyone knows cops do it. I know of a police station (I won’t mention names) where the cops at the entrance have a list of the money they take for offences. It’s less than the official sum. Whether the money goes into the police coffers or their own pockets, I don’t know. But, if you don’t want to pay them, they will direct you to the payment counters inside to pay the official amount.

When I told them that I’m a journalist and don’t do this sort of thing, they snickered and smiled in embarrassment and directed me to the payment counter!

This is true of municipal and district council workers as well. Small businesses and hawkers will tell you how they can’t get licences or operate without an exchange of money.

If you feel entitled you won’t work hard for what you want. It’s like rich children who know they don’t have to work hard for money because their parents have more than enough to give them. If those kids don’t value their parents’ hard-earned wealth, they’ll give others “access” to these funds for a fee, which, sometimes, are phenomenal sums!

To remove corruption from government, it is necessary to rebuild a work culture based on effort and merit. That culture of good work ethics can only be nurtured when the attitude of entitlement is destroyed.

Those in public office need to know they are entitled to nothing except what is legally and appropriately made available to them. When they don’t feel entitled, they will realise that they have no choice but to work hard, and, then, corruption becomes a dirty word because it would deprive them of an honest income.

 

 

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