Prostitution and corruption are two human weaknesses that have existed since ancient times. They still exist today even in the most advanced and rich countries. Thus a high-income country can also have corruption, financial, and sex scandals in the public and private sector e.g the Enron accounting fraud in the 1980s. Or Goldman Sachs’ unethical role in raising the 1MDB loan in 2015.
There is however a big difference in how countries manage their scandals — in the advanced countries, their media is free to investigate and report and their newspapers and tv stations compete in coming out with the breaking news on the criminal behavior of their elected leaders, their bankers and business leaders. And their legislatures are quick to use the media reports to convene public inquiries on the exposures.
In contrast, in many developing countries, the ruling elites protect themselves from public scrutiny by hiding behind draconian laws . In Malaysia, they use race, religion and raja (the 3 R’s) to keep the public in the dark. But thankfully, with the global internet communication and the rise of the Malaysian urban middle class, especially among the new generation of university-educated Malays, the public is becoming more vocal in demanding explanations from the govt.
We believe G25 comprising several retired senior civil servants and serving academia, has the responsibility to express our opinion without fear and favor on matters of most concern to the public. We have organized open forums, published our own reports, issued media statements, and met with influential political leaders to explain the reforms that we have been propagating for moderation, tolerance, and the good governance of the country. We hope to launch a series of video talk show in 2021 to reach out to a wider audience.