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One in 10 Malaysians had paid a bribe

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KUALA LUMPUR   –  Most Malaysians would rather pay their way out of trouble than join the fight against corruption.

Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Datuk Paul Low said yesterday despite high awareness, many people still lacked the conviction to take a stand against corrupt practices.

“When forced by a situation (which requires them to give bribes), many people still choose to pay. It’s almost become a way of life,” he said after launching the TI-M Walk Against Corruption at the Lake Gardens here.

According to Low, a 2010 survey conducted by TI-M had found that at least one in 10 Malaysians had paid a bribe, while half of all businesses had lost contracts or clients as a result of graft.

He called on the public to play a greater role in combating graft, stressing that the struggle against corruption could not be fought by organisations such as TI-M or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission alone.

“It starts with a small act. Just don’t pay. And if you really want to take it further, report those responsible to the authorities.”

Low said studies had proven that countries that did not tolerate corruption often enjoyed higher incomes and higher standards of living.

“In some other countries, however, nearly a third of a person’s income goes to paying bribes. When a society reaches that state, it’s a sure sign of a country’s decline — this is why we cannot allow corruption to continue.”

More than 200 people joined in the walk, organised in conjunction with the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day.  – NST