The people are satisfied with the endeavors of the Anti-Corruption Commission, and urged to work hard in wiping out the corruption problem completely.
U Ye Htut (Representative for the Sagaing Region Constituency-5)
- By Shin Min
Sarcastically, the people used to lament “business as usual” when an ongoing and unchanging state of affairs despite difficulties or disturbances, which ironically happened to be the buzzword in the domain of anti-corruption drive in our country.
A survey was commissioned by the Myanmar Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to determine the perceptions of people on corruption in the bureaucracy.
When asked whether the citizens experienced difficulties doing business with the government unless they gave officials presents or money, 90 percent of respondents said “business as usual”.
The survey was conducted at the selected localities from October to December 2018. Most of the respondents are of the view that the action taken by the government against the corrupted officials was not effective.
However, expectation are high among the citizens that the anti-corruption drive would be enveloped with the “sweet smell of success”, if the people join hands in the eradication of corruption campaign.
Five times higher
Pouring in heavily, the Anti-Corruption Commission received 10,543 complaint letters in 2018, alarmingly five times more than the previous year.
A couple of weeks back, on 13 May 2019, Hluttaw representatives discussed 2018 yearly corruption cases of Myanmar at Second Pyidaungsu Hluttaw 12th regular session meeting in Nay Pyi Taw.
Lauding the newly constituted Anti-Corruption Commission during the time of incumbent government, lawmaker of Sagaing Region Constituency 5 U Ye Htut said that the people are satisfied with the endeavors of the Anti-Corruption commission, and urged to work hard in wiping out the corruption problem completely.
Parliamentarians were of the view that the graft cases handing over and transferring to the government departments by the Anti-Corruption Commission might delay the functioning of the commission.
Regularly rolling into the commission were the complaint letters year after year with 2,014 letters in 2017; 710 letters in 2016; 983 letters in 2015; 968 letters in 2014.
Wish to be strong driving force
Kayin State Constituency (7) Hluttaw Representative Naw Christ Htoon (a) Dr. Arkar Moe said that the bribery and corruption is the main obstacle and delay in the development of a nation; that the ranking of Myanmar in the world corruption list is in the red level in the back; that the situation is still in a bad and alarming stage; that Myanmar has fallen into the list of Least Developing Countries (LDC) due to corruption and remained underdeveloped; that the corruption must be erased for the sake of development of the nation; that the anti-corruption drive must be accelerated in top gear; that the role and responsibly of the commission should be more powerful, muscular and robust.
Some are not happy with the commission’s performance, noting that of the more than 10,000 complaints lodged in 2018, it had only opened 46 cases. It also unveiled that among the 10,000 complaints; 1795 were handed over to the ministries, region and state governments; 5268 were not actually complaints but just suggestions on how to eradicate graft; while 2824 were not actionable; and 610 were under investigation.
Hluttaw representative of Kachin State Constituency (10) Dr. Khun Win Thaung was of the view that the endeavors of the commission are satisfactory but the routine transfer of the cases from the commission to the departments is the stumbling block; that in the absence of tangible complaints over the corruption cases the investigation and action could not be filed, leaving the departmental officers and staff members in sinister smile on their cunning character; that the anti-corruption drive would be successful in line with the direction of the President’s speech with the collective participation of all stakeholders and the people.
Two stage down
The 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index, published by Transparency International, measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, where Myanmar stands out in ranking 132 / 180 and scoring 29/100, sliding down in performances.
Corruption is the main stumbling block and obstacle in the democratic transition and the nation—building for the incumbent government.
Thus, the President met with Anti- Corruption Commission on April 11th 2018 and instructed to take action according to Law, regardless of status of the people in question. The President’s message of greeting to international Anti- Corruption Day states that on the part of the public, they are required to report any involvement or interference of people in authority and of power to the authority along with concrete facts and evidence.
Corruption does not solely mean money matters
“We can find out and clamp down on any obvious cases of corruption, but the ones committed under concealment. An international organization said that there was a lost of about 2000 million dollars caused by corruption. If we can eliminate corruption, the country will develop at fast pace. Money, which is subjected to corruption, can be spent investing . It can also be spent on building and upgrading of basic institutions. Corruption doesn’t always mean money matters. corruption can employ wrong person at wrong time in service. For example, getting an appointment in an underhand way. Since such individual doesn’t deserve the position, they will not perform effectively . They will perpetuate the way they get their current position to make money and abuse power” said U Ye Htut from Sagaing Regional Constituency-5.
Anti-corruption Commission report stated that even though public do not understand corruption well, nobody wants it. People consider giving bribe for various essential services at Government offices but instead of doing so ,the belief in all-out effort to eliminate corruption will be a great help to commission.
In addition to that, the delay of counter check of power abuse for one’s own benefit, unethical promotion and transfers, confusing people with procedures within the department causes corruptions.
Investigate and take action
U Khin Cho of Hlaingbwe Constituency discussed that corruption is common in department where there are direct contacts with people. It can be found departments, organization, places to draw evidence concerning lands and places to deal with business people, places that requires to handle much money and positions of authority.
It was reported that 10 high ranking officials, 13 officials,17 government employees and 6 public servant ,46 in total were investigated and charged under the Anti-Corruption Law in 2018.
Furthermore, asserts and money acquired form corruption were confiscated as public property. The confiscation amounted to K30.890 million and US$4.003 million.
To counter corruption, Anti-Corruption Commission has drawn up Anti-corruption Grand strategy and to affectively do so the anti-corruption law has been amended for the 4th time and enacted.
The Anti-corruption Commission’s report stated that for the success of tenders which governments departments and organizations are in charge, and for the good result of them at lowest possible cost, for sensible judgment of tenders and to know dos and don’ts in situations linked to corruption extensive educating must be carried out.
Thus, Anti-corruption Commission is now conducting research on budget and fund, which might be wasted owing to corruption committed towards tender regulations, by local and international experts. They also run courses and sharing sessions.
When a survey concerning bribery to government departments was carried out, the majority of public answer that it was paid because there is no other way to get the job done.
Corruption has been deeply rooted in the system for decades in many areas. That is why it is required to create a culture with zero tolerance for corruption. It is also important to take action against corrupted people .Only if public collaborate with government to fight corruption, will the standard of living of government and public, eradicating poverty and country’s economy move towards development . Decrease in corruption goes hand in hand with development.