Frankly Speaking: Young and corrupt

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on August 5, 2019 - August 11, 2019.
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Last Wednesday, it was revealed that more than half of the individuals arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over the last five years were aged 40 and below.

MACC deputy commissioner (prevention) Datuk Shamshun Baharin Mohd Jamil said between 2014 and June this year, 4,860 individuals were arrested for corruption, 2,594 or 53.4% of whom were 40 and below.

The issue “must be viewed seriously and addressed at the early stages”, he said, urging all parties, including public universities, to take various measures to prevent such immoral acts, especially among the younger generation.

Citing a Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia study in 2002, the deputy commissioner pointed out that 30.5% of the students who responded said they were open to accepting bribes.

It would be interesting to carry out another study to ascertain how many of today’s students are open to accepting bribes.

Indeed, more than 50% of the clients of Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Kredit’s debt management programme (DMP) are below 40 years of age. The DMP is a rehabilitative programme to assist consumers to regain financial control.

Malaysian Department of Insolvency statistics show that 64,632 Malaysians between the ages of 18 and 44 have been declared bankrupt over the last five years.

While there is no clear evidence to suggest that financial desperation drives people to accept bribes, the statistics show that bankruptcy and corruption tend to happen more with the younger generation.

It is a coincidence that should not be ignored.

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