In my discussion here, I am going to talk about the corruption in general perspective without pointing to any particular individual.
In Islam, corruption is illegal (haram) as the Prophet Muhammad pbuh said in his hadith, “arraasyi walmurtasyi finnar” which means “the person who gave bribe and the person who received it, both will be in the hell”.
In Malaysia, though we do not apply Islamic law, corruption is also an offence and punishable under the relevant laws. In fact, I believe that corruption is an offence everywhere. I also believe that corruption is very dangerous in the sense that it can cause a nation’s fall down.
We may have the relevant laws to counter corruption but it may not solve the problem because we do not find its root cause. The law is there to punish the offenders but it does not necessarily stop others from committing the same offence. I do not need to prove my point, as this fact is a judicial notice (known to the public without the need to prove it in court). We do hear people say “prevention is better than cure” but what do we need to do to prevent corruption instead of curing it though punishment? The answer is simple as we need to recognize the root cause of the problem.
What is/are then the root cause of corruption? Musa Hassan (the IGP) felt that low salary was the cause of corruption in police force as it was reported that Musa Hassan has called on the government to pay his officers properly saying it would help tackle the problem of corruption in theforce.
With due respect I do not agree with him. I’ll discuss at the later part of this posting.
We also do hear that education starts at home. I do agree that education starts at home but there are good education and bad education. Corruption starts at home. Just to give a quick understanding of what I meant by “corruption starts at home”, corruption, in my own understanding is a practice of giving unnecessary reward or unnecessary additional reward to someone for doing something, which is his/her responsibility to do it. When I have the responsibility to do something, no matter what, I have to do it because it is my responsibility. However, when someone starts to pay me to do what is already my responsibility, there is a strong tendency that I will be asking for money before I perform my responsibility and that is corruption. So, corruption is a bad education.
Parents nowadays give money to their children to fast, to pray, to study and a lot more things that has become the duty of the children. Some parents said that the money is to encourage and to instill interest in their children to pray, fast, etc and it is sort of incentive. It may sound logic and workable but then again, “the end does not justify the means”. At the end of the day, we will have children who pray, fast, etc for material reward and not because they feel that it is their duty to do so. The same thing goes to helping parents with the house chores. Parents should not pay their children to do the house chores. Make it upon them (the children) that it is their responsibility to help their parents with the house chores. The same thing goes to academic achievements. It has become a trend nowadays for parents to promise this and that to their children if they achieve the target set by their parents in the examination. In the end, they study because of the promise made by the parent and not because they feel that it is their responsibility to study and excel in their examination. It has come to the stage whereby a friend of mine told me that his eldest son asked him beginning of the year of what would he (the father) give to him (the son) as a present if he manage to be the top student in his class?
So, if children have been taught at home that it is nothing wrong for them to demand for reward to do something that is obliged upon them to do, what make you think that they will feel that it is wrong for them to ask for money before they do their job when they enter working era?
Now, the reason why I do not agree with Musa Hassan on his view how to fight corruption in the police force is because it is the nature of human being that what they get will never be enough (in general) for them. Low salary is not the factor to corruption. You may have someone earning 5 figures salary but still practice corruption because what they get is never enough for them. You may earn low salary but if you can live within your means, then your salary should be enough. So, salary is not the factor here. It depends very much on the person’s upbringing at home.
And we always hear parents said that “children nowadays…” when in actual fact, the phrase should be “parents nowadays…” Can we say, “parents nowadays teach their children to be materialistic” than “children nowadays are materialistic”?