‘Give corruption a chance; it may not be so bad for Malaysia after all’

Ringgit Malaysia

First off, a disclaimer – this is satire. And this only happens when I skip my meds for three straight days.

I’m a firm believer in fighting the good fight. At the same time, I’m pragmatic. I know when it’s time to cut my losses and fold.

One should always know when to give up.

Corruption has dominated the national headlines for as long as anyone cares to remember. In the 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index, Malaysia’s ranking slipped six places from the previous year, coming in at 57. Ahead of it was Rwanda, at 49, Botswana (35) and Bhutan (24).

Even the much-vaunted Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been plagued by scandal, its reputation tainted, its public image battered.

However, there is money to be made from all this.

All it takes is a bit of imagination, a little marketing and branding chutzpah, and a complete shift in mindset.

The first thing we need to do is to legalise corruption. Once it’s legal, it’s no longer a problem. Legalising a felony frees up an entire ecosystem – the intelligence-gathering, surveillance, monitoring, enforcement, incarceration, and the judicial process. Instead, these resources can be directed to more pressing matters, like eradicating the scourge of the dastardly basikal lajak.

In one fell swoop, it removes the shackles and allows us to finally excel at something. We can’t build flying cars, we can’t finance our athletes, we can’t decide on which is the greater evil – vernacular schools or nasi lemak wrapped in Illuminati symbology – but by God, do we know how to scratch each other’s backs for a nice wad of under-the-table cash, split evenly.

The beauty of graft is, it is an equal opportunity enabler – anyone can profit from it.

And when you juxtapose it against the context of ‘Keluarga Malaysia’, it fits in beautifully.

This is wealth creation and wealth sharing at its finest. Cash is king; capitalism is alive and well. Who needs foreign direct investment?

As one former statesman succinctly puts it: ‘Prosper thy neighbour’. I’m sure this is not exactly what he meant, but the same basic principles apply. And if the ‘family’ is happy, everyone’s happy.

Also, by legalising corruption, the MACC becomes irrelevant, unnecessary. Like a third limb. Abolish the agency, and overnight, it’s sullied reputation would be a thing of the past. As they say, out of sight, out of mind.

But the biggest benefit would be in the potential savings for the country, since the MACC gobbles up roughly RM200 million a year from the government. That’s right… More Vellfires for everyone!

Its impressive headquarters in Putrajaya, which already bears an uncanny resemblance to a biblical ark, can either be sold to a developer, or be turned into a flood relief centre. Either way, by virtue of it being built on stilts, it’s perfectly suited to handle flash floods, climate change, or roaming Malayan tigers displaced by illegal logging and deforestation.

The next phase is to transform Malaysia into an international financial hub, specialising in services that only kingpins, Mafiosos, the Yakuza, despots, dictators, and drug lords can truly appreciate, and value.

The scope of sectors would be expansive – from ‘medicinal’ marijuana, ‘medicinal’ ketum, ‘medicinal’ coco puffs, ‘medicinal’ Jim Jones, ‘medicinal’ Banano, and ‘medicinal’ reefer, to DVD haram (despite the campaign that tells us to buy the gold disc – ORIGINAL – and not the purple disc – DVD-R).

Why limit yourself to vegetables and optical storage discs when you can also deal in weapons of mass destruction? Of course, a line has to be drawn when it comes to human trafficking and prostitution. These are the things that we will not tolerate. Honour among thieves and all that.

The earnings potential for the country from all this – in terms of taxes and other fees – would be staggering.

Millions of Malaysians would be lifted from abject poverty, household income would soar, driving the economy further.

Of course, to market this, the branding and ad campaigns would have to rise to the same level of sophistication as that of other countries that provide similar, but not quite the same, services. Countries such as the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, or the Bahamas, which are synonymous with ‘discreet’, ‘secure’, and ‘trusted’.

We also need to move away from taglines like ‘Masyuuuk…’ and ‘Malu apa Bossku’ to attract a more discerning, global clientele. ‘Ranchaak… ranchaak BERDOWSAAA’ will not work.

Other ripple effects include better tax breaks, which means that the nation’s wealthiest would no longer have to stash their copious amounts of cash in offshore accounts. They can instead, repatriate the money back home, where it belongs. Don’t forget to check out the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ website to see who made the rich list!

Malaysia is at a crossroads. We gave integrity, accountability, ethical behaviour guided by the rule of law and high values a shot, but it clearly has not worked out in our favour. These things happen. Some people are meant to be warfighters, some are just destined to be Scout Masters. But that’s okay.

The question is, how do we, as a nation, move forward from this never-ending cascade of corruption cases?

Do we continue on the same, tired path, or do we capitalise on it and make some good money while we’re at it?

Do we shun the very things that we are good at, because we find them abhorrent? Or do we embrace them wholeheartedly?

Maybe corruption isn’t so bad after all.

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