Displaying items by tag: corruption

Monday, 16 December 2019 09:29

Corruption should be on agenda

THE 2019 Kuala Lumpur Summit (KL Summit), to be held from Dec 18 to 21 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, has received an encouraging response, with 52 countries confirming their attendance, and more than 400 participants, including more than 250 from abroad.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan are expected to join Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the summit, which he will chair.

Unfortunately, fighting corruption is not listed on the agenda of the summit.

It should, in fact, take the necessary steps to address flaws in the global financial system that allow the corrupt to siphon off funds from the public purse and hide the proceeds of their crimes.

Last January, Transparency International Malaysia, the global anti-corruption coalition, released its 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) that drew on 13 surveys and expert assessments measuring the perceived level of corruption of public sectors in 180 countries and territories in the world.

A country’s rank indicates its position relative to other countries in the index .

The smaller the number of the rank, the less corrupt a country is perceived to be.

Based on CPI 2018, Jordan ranked 58th with a score of 49 compared with 59th with a score of 48 in CPI 2017.

Saudi Arabia ranked 49th with a score of 58, one score above its CPI 2017 ranking.

Oman ranked 53rd with a score of 52, compared with the CPI 2017 ranking of 68th with a score of 44.

Indonesia was in 89th position with a score of 38 compared with 96th with a score of 37 in CPI 2017.

The other Muslim countries’ rankings and 2018 CPI scores were: Turkey, 78th with a score of 41; Bahrain, 99th with a score of 36; Egypt, 105th with a score of 35; Kosovo, 93rd and with a score of 37; Pakistan, 117th with a score of 33; Yemen, 176th with a score of 14; Iraq, 168th with a score of 18; Sudan, 172nd with a score of 16 ; Afghanistan, 172nd with a score of 16; Syria, 178th with a score of 13, and Somalia, 180th with a score of 10.

Worldwide, Denmark stands tallest with 88 points, with New Zealand in second place with 87 points.

Finland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland shared the third spot with 85 points.

Among the criteria used to determine the rankings are a robust rule of law, independent oversight institutions and a broad societal consensus against the misuse of public office and resources for private interests.

The 19th-century Egyptian scholar and jurist, Muhammad Abduh, once said: “I went to the West and saw Islam, but no Muslims; I came back to the East and saw Muslims, but not Islam.”

Currently, corruption remains the main problem in many Muslim-majority governments.

Most of the core values of Western countries, such as transparency, integrity, accountability, freedom, human rights and justice, are universal values which do not conflict with Islam or any other religion and are even important constituents of Islamic teachings.

A country’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

Thus, the countries with higher scores will rank much higher in position (as being less corrupt) compared with countries with lower scores.

It is interesting to note the trend in fighting corruption within Muslim and Muslim-majority countries.

The 2018 CPI results showed that no Muslim country ranked in the top 20 out of the 180 countries surveyed.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) took the 23rd place with a score of 70, topping all other Muslim countries.

Brunei ranked 31st with a score of 63, the second cleanest Muslim country followed by Qatar, which ranked 33rd with a score 62.

Malaysia is the seventh least corrupt country among Muslim nations but has moved up to the 61st spot — one notch higher than the previous year though it still retains a score of 47 points.

A study of 208 countries and territories by Professor Hussain Askari of George Washington University entitled, “How Islamic are the Islamic Countries”, showed that most countries which applied Islamic principles in their daily lives were not the ones that were traditionally Muslim.

The top countries in economic achievement and social values were New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark and Luxembourg. Malaysia was in 33rd place, Saudi Arabia 91st and Somalia 199th, at the bottom of the list.

Hussain said we listened to religious lessons and sermons more than people of other faiths, but we were still not the best of nations.

In the last 60 years, we have listened to 3,000 Friday sermons. We must practise what we preach or hear being preached.

Since the UAE, Brunei and Qatar are seen to be the cleanest and most trustworthy of all Muslim countries, they should share their best practices to improve the CPI score and reduce corruption in other Muslim countries. Even the G20 included anti-corruption as an issue on the agenda of their summit.

It is strongly urged that Malaysia, being the chair of 2019 KL Summit, put the anti-corruption agenda at the forefront of its initiatives and play a leading role in fighting corruption in Muslim countries.

The writer holds a professorial chair at HELP University’s Institute of Crime and Criminology, and was a former president of Transparency International Malaysia

Published in: The New Straits Times, Thursday 12 December 2019

Source : https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/12/547048/corruption-should-be-agenda

Thursday, 25 July 2019 17:11

Fighting Corruption: An Islamic Perspective

Due to the numerous forms it can take, corruption escapes the idea of a comprehensive definition.

It knows no boundaries, applies to the rich and poor individuals, organisations and countries, and it is as old as human history itself.

Corruption can include bribery, unlawful gifts and donations, extortion, nepotism, buying influence, favouritism, fraud, embezzlement and the like.

They are all forbidden on the basis they seek to distort the course of justice.

Differences in interpretation of a particular hadith (words of Prophet Muhammad) on the validity or otherwise of the declaration of personal assets of government officials have recently been featured in the media.

In principle, syariah (Islamic law) accepts reasonable disagreement (iktilaf) in interpretation provided it is clear of bias and does not pursue questionable objectives.

One way to evaluate this is to refer to the higher purposes (maqasid) of syariah.

If an interpretation pursues a lawful purpose that finds support in the higher sources of syariah, it is accepted, but is set aside and rejected otherwise.

If asset declaration is meant to fight official corruption, then this is not only valid in syariah but highly recommended and meritorious.

Official corruption has undoubtedly become the bane of good governance in many present-day Muslim countries, Malaysia included.

Provided asset declaration itself is not motivated by a corrupt purpose, such as violating the privacy of others and conducting unwarranted searches to inflict harm on them, and it is intended only as a means of combating corruption, it is valid beyond doubt.

This is because all government employees have a duty to stay away from corruption.

For government in Islam is a trust (amanah) that must be faithfully observed (Quran Chapter 4, verse 58), and betrayal of trust is strictly forbidden (8:72).

The text also speaks in condemnation of corruption (fasad) and its perpetrators (mufsidun) (2:205; 26:151; 30:41).

Fighting official corruption also forms part of the Quranic principle of ‘prevention of evil’ (nahy ‘an al-munkar) which is a duty of the leader and those in charge of community affairs (uli’l-amr).

Iqbal and Lewis wrote in their (2002) work, The Islamic Attack on Corruption, that “there is zero tolerance for bribery in Islam, and Islam rejects any idea that bribery serves as ‘the grease that oils the economic wheels’.”

There is no scope either for legalising corruption in the name of commission, gift, donation, advances, soft loan, loan write-offs and the like.

Islamic history also records instances of anti-corruption measures taken by the government. The second caliph, Umar Al-Khattab, fought bribery and corruption of officials through expropriation of personal wealth accumulated during the tenure of office.

This was done to prominent figures among the Prophet’s companions, Abu Hurayrah, Amri Al-Aas, Nafi Amri, Saad Abi Waqas, and Khalid Al-Walid, the governors respectively of Bahrain, Egypt, Mecca, Kufa and Sham, among others, who were found to have accumulated wealth which they did not have prior to employment.

Some of them indulged in trading activities and careless handling of public funds.

The caliph ordered Abu Hurayrah to “take your own property and what is necessary for your living, and surrender the rest to the Baitul Mal (public treasury)”.

Amri Al-Aas was simply ordered to hand over one half of his wealth to the Baitul Mal as he had acquired goods, slaves, livestock and artifacts that he did not have before he was appointed as governor of Egypt.

Expropriation was not confined to government officials but also extended to merchants, contractors and dignitaries who conducted business with the government and accumulated disproportionate amounts of wealth.

An interesting incident on this, recorded by Abu Yusuf, involved the two sons of the caliph Umar, Abdul Allah and Ubayd Allah, who accompanied an army contingent to Iraq.

Governor Abu Musa Al-Asharı, said: “Here’s money as advance to buy goods from Iraq and then sell them in Madinah. Give the capital to the caliph and keep the profit for yourselves.”

This was agreed and the caliph’s sons made a profit. But when handing over the capital to the caliph, the latter asked:

“Does he give similar advances to everyone in the army?” The answer to this was “No”, and the caliph asked them to pay both the capital and the profit.

A man said: “O Umar, perhaps you could treat this as an instance of mudarabah on the analysis that if they had made a loss they would have been accountable.”

The caliph agreed and asked his sons to deliver the capital and only half the profit to the Baitul Mal.

Expropriation of assets of corrupt officials was eventually institutionalised under the Abbasid caliph, Ja‘far al-Mansur, when a department was established for handling expropriation matters in cases of unwarranted enrichment.

Reports also indicate that vast amounts of properties were retrieved.

The Abbasid caliph, al-Qahir, is thus reported to have expropriated the properties of the mother of his predecessor, al-Muqtadir, which raised the assets of Baitul Mal by a substantial amount.

Mohammad Hashim Kamali is founding chief executive officer of the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies Malaysia.

Published in: The New Straits Times, Thursday 25 July 2019

Source: https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/07/507029/fighting-corruption-islamic-perspective

Tuesday, 07 October 2014 12:34

Facing the challenges of corruption

CORRUPTION is the act of a breach of trust. The first sin of man was the breaching of trust, as told in verse 115 of Surah Thaahaa, which means: “And We had already taken a promise from Adam before, but he forgot; and We found not in him determination.”

The decree was contained in verse 35 of Surah Al-Baqarah, which means: “And We said, ‘O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise and eat therefrom in [ease and] abundance from wherever you will. But do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers’.”

The oldest discovered document touching on the subject of corruption is the Arthasastra by Kautilya in India, in 300 AD. In China, in 220 AD, the Qing dynasty understood the concept of corruption, and meted out severe punishments upon those involved in corrupt acts.................Download Part One and Part Two for full article in pdf attachments (below)


Published in Media Articles
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 09:59

Regulate political financing

Global Movement of Moderates chief executive officer Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah says it is time for measures to curb political corruption in the country. He said the Malaysian Corruption Barometer 2014 released by Transparency International Malaysia (TIM) on Wednesday, which revealed among others that political parties are the most corrupt, confirmed another research done earlier, which showed that the most trusted people are doctors and the most distrusted were politicians.....................Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)

Published in Media Articles
Saturday, 19 January 2013 16:22

Islam prohibits all forms of corruption


THE ongoing campaign Malaysia is waging against corruption has gained momentum.  Tunku Abdul Aziz called it an "All-Malaysian duty" in which everyone should take part, regardless of political affiliation (NST, Jan  5). I would also add that it is an All-Muslim duty and a calling on the religious conscious of   Muslims of this country to support it. Playing a proactive role in this campaign is a veritable amal (right moral action) that the Quran repeatedly impresses on   Muslims -- an act also of great social benefit that elevates the standing of the ummah and Malaysia in the international community........... Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)

Published in Media Articles