Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Not all politicians are corrupt

A few days ago I crossed path with two young girls from East Malaysia. I was sharing with them the change that took place on 8 March 2008 and how that change has not only altered politics in Peninsular Malaysia but it has also radically changed my life. It is wonderful to see how receptive and excited they were about the prospect of that change making its round in Sarawak and Sabah come the next general election.

These two young girls shared with me how corruption is rampant in the long houses they live in during elections. Certain politicians would come and offer money in return for votes. I encouraged both of them to hold fast to integrity and the conviction they both share about fighting corruption.

Righteousness exalts a nation. We need to start with the young. We need to teach them about the consequences of corruption and its costs to the nation.

We, the adults usually remember very well the lessons we learned when we were children. As such, whenever the opportunity arises for me to speak to children, I would address the issue of corruption, hoping that they would remember it when they grow up.

Parents must not underestimate the lessons they teach their kids when they're young. I learned a painful lesson from my dad when I was seven. When I was in Standard One, my classmate used to give my sister and I some of her daily allowance (about fifty cents everyday). Those days, fifty cents could buy me lots of junk food in school. When her mom found out, she reported this to my teacher (who was my neighbour) who then reported this to my dad.

When my dad heard this, my sister and I were called to face his wrath! I still remember what he said to me when he made us kneel before him in our living hall. He took out a ruler and he said, "this is to teach you never to take anything that does not belong to you." That was the first and only time my father ever hit my hand (Note: I am not encouraging parents to hit their children).

That experience is still so vivid to me. He disciplined me and I knew my dad did that because he didn't want his children to steal from others though we were poor. That was the lesson I learned when I was seven and today at the age of 30, I still carry that lesson with me and that ladies and gentlemen is how my fight against corruption has its root from - never to take anything that does not belong to me and that means taxpayers' money! You can teach your children how to fight corruption, teach them good values while they're young so that when they grow up, they will not depart from them. The next time you are tempted to bribe your way through, think again – your children may be watching you and may follow your examples.

Some Malaysians like to condemn those who are guilty of receiving bribes and justify and defend those who offer bribes. Corruption often happens for convenience sake. People would offer bribes, often an amount lower than the legal summon to avoid them the hassle of going to the authorities to pay up. People would offer bribes for a shorter waiting time, for a faster approval or for keeping others quiet.

Corruption will persist in Malaysia for as long as the people continue to feed the greed for such money. Shut the hungry mouths and get rid of the feeding hands. Unless we get rid of both, our mission to fight corruption will be futile.

I have one single goal for my time in politics and that is to prove to our nation that not all politicians are corrupt and to bear witness that only righteousness can exalt Malaysia again. Happy Malaysia Day and to our friends in East Malaysia (just like what I shared to the two young girls mentioned at the start of my article): hang in there, the best is yet to come!
(By HANNAH YEOH/MySinchew)
(HANNAH YEOH is state assemblywoman for Subang Jaya)

11 comments:

Y1 said...

"I have one single goal for my time in politics and that is to prove to our nation that not all politicians are corrupt and to bear witness that only righteousness can exalt Malaysia again."

Amen sister!

Anonymous said...

way to go.. hang on there.. the path in front of you would be tough. our mental support will be there with you :)

jennyiyan said...

Well done and well said, Hannah. God has blessed you and He will continue to bless you all the way for all that you've done and all that you will be doing. May He continue to bless you with joy and good health to continue His work. Good politicians are hard to come by these days...;)
God Bless

KoSong Cafe said...

We need more politicians like you.

It is very tough to be an honest politician as we can observe - no corruption means funding from own salary and allowance and fund-raising activities.

Yet, political enemies can just use the media and government agencies under their control to harass and frustrate, and even leading to death like Teoh Beng Hock's case.

I believe recent events, though very unfortunate, will lead to more and more fair-minded people to voice out and vote out the present regime. At the moment they are using the most attractive resource at their disposal - $$$ - which can be tempting to those in financial troubles as well as those who are into power, wealth and luxuries.

Hopefully, all those inclined to easy ways to make money, will leave, so that we can have people
(including those who are disillusioned with the power is might mentality), with the same objectives of transparency and good governance to continue the struggle.

Gan said...

Hannah - I like the usage of the word "exalt".

You are one of those rare breed of politicians !

I applaud you and may you never waver from your goal.

a voter said...

Dear YB, your team is one shining example that gives hope to this country.

I am always filled with hope and peace everytime I read your blog.

Those politicians who constantly demand respect and credit from rakyat should read your blog. That's how one can earn respect & love from rakyat; the true spirit of 1Malaysia can be found here without doubts; those politicians will never need to demand/shout/complain if they just follow your way. :)

Thank you & kindly extend my appreciation to your team.

Cheers !!

Anonymous said...

The Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil. True. But the lack of money is also the root of all temptations.

One reason, though not an excuse, for the rampant corruption among many politicians is the way we treat our elected representatives -- miserable amount of allowance to take care of thousands of people and thousands of problems. All our elected representatives should be given least a monthy basic allowance of RM10,000 for state assemblymen and RM15,000 for MPs, accompanied by allowances for a proper service centre with full-time staff paid by the government.

Many elected represensatives depend on "sponsors" to pay rental and staff of their service centres, and in the process become obilgated to these sponsors who may expect favours in return. It is a well-know fact that many such sponsors expect "their" elected representatives to nominate them for state awards and titles.

Singapore MPs are relatively corruption-free and clean because they are well-taken care of financially by the state. Our elected representatives depend and survive on donations and financial sponsors to operate their service centres.

Ideally, each MP and state assemblyman should, in addition to a basic monthly personal allowance of RM15,000 and RM10,000, should be provided with a fully-equipped service centre (with computers, telephone/fax, photocopy machines, etc)and at least three government-paid staff workers but appointed by the representative -- a political secretary, a research assistant and a general clerk. All expenses peratining to the operation of the service centre should be paid by the government.

We talk so much about achieving 'developed nation" status but we do not practise a developed nation mentality. Our opposition elected representatives are given second-class treatment while the ruling party's representatives have access to all sorts of government resources.

The MPs and state assemblymen are elected by the people and ALL of them should be accorded due respect and equal provision of financial and other resources for them to serve the people effectively. After all, it is our tax money that the government is using.

May Loh said...

Hannah,

You are the light to your constituencies and hope for the people of Subang Jaya.

God Bless You always.

Regards

May Loh
New Zealand

a voter said...

Anonymous September 28, 2009 5:20 AM

Fully agree with you that our elected rep. should be well taken care of with fully equipped service centre + enough staff of their choice depending on the density of population, & all fully paid by the government.

I believe nation's fund wasted in misuse, inefficiency & corruption is much more than the amount needed to cover for fully equipped elected reps. An efficient and clean service centre will indeed help the government to save a lot of unnecessary wastage.

Rakyat have to support this & understand that our elected reps are just as human as us; they have to be free from financial worry on basic needs before they can concentrate to serve people. If they even need others to fund the operating cost of their service centre and their basic personal expenditure, then chances of corruption and compromise is greater unless their team have a very strong will power to reject the convenient path.

Obviously YB Hannah's team is one of the few in Malaysia.

Bravo to them, and never forget to show our gratefulness to such a wonderful team!

Thomas Lee said...

I gave my name to my comment. I don't understand why you use anonymous. I always stand by what I said without fear or favour and will not hide behind some labels or nicknames. If you use my piece, then attribute it to me. Or I will not write any more comment.

Thomas Lee

Thomas Lee said...

The Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil. True. But the lack of money is also the root of all temptations.

One reason, though not an excuse, for the rampant corruption among many politicians is the way we treat our elected representatives -- miserable amount of allowance to take care of thousands of people and thousands of problems. All our elected representatives should be given least a monthy basic allowance of RM10,000 for state assemblymen and RM15,000 for MPs, accompanied by allowances for a proper service centre with full-time staff paid by the government.

Many elected represensatives depend on "sponsors" to pay rental and staff of their service centres, and in the process become obilgated to these sponsors who may expect favours in return. It is a well-know fact that many such sponsors expect "their" elected representatives to nominate them for state awards and titles.

Singapore MPs are relatively corruption-free and clean because they are well-taken care of financially by the state. Our elected representatives depend and survive on donations and financial sponsors to operate their service centres.

Ideally, each MP and state assemblyman should, in addition to a basic monthly personal allowance of RM15,000 and RM10,000, should be provided with a fully-equipped service centre (with computers, telephone/fax, photocopy machines, etc)and at least three government-paid staff workers but appointed by the representative -- a political secretary, a research assistant and a general clerk. All expenses peratining to the operation of the service centre should be paid by the government.

We talk so much about achieving 'developed nation" status but we do not practise a developed nation mentality. Our opposition elected representatives are given second-class treatment while the ruling party's representatives have access to all sorts of government resources.

The MPs and state assemblymen are elected by the people and ALL of them should be accorded due respect and equal provision of financial and other resources for them to serve the people effectively. After all, it is our tax money that the government is using.