A class above graft
By M K Anwar

Corrupt practices can drag a country towards disaster once widespread and has become a culture in the community. His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, reiterated this during the launch of the Corruption Prevention Education into the National School Curriculum at the International Convention Centre yesterday morning.

In defining corruption, HRH the Crown Prince said that it is an act of giving money, gifts or any such reward to a person for the purpose of obtaining in return, consideration or rewards in the interests of a person or group.

"In fact, the definition and effects of corruption become much wider if they are linked in the context of the abuse of power for personal interests and nepotism," he said.

Islam itself prohibits engaging in corruption, HRH the Crown Prince pointed out and with this in view, every head of organisation is responsible to take proactive and precise steps towards the prevention and eradication of any act that leads to corrupt activity.

The Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office in his advice said that everyone in the government machinery should instill a clean and healthy mindset together with the attitude to always prioritise the country's interest as their main aim in discharging the responsibilities entrusted on them.

Highlighting the dangers of corruption, His Royal Highness in his sabda took example of the uncontrolled influx of forbidden and prohibited items such as weapons or development that shouldn't be approved or the awarding of a post to a person who is not qualified to hold it, corrupt activities in influencing this will most certainly affect the country's security, development and peace.

"Corruption will constantly affect the system of government in the same way that pathogens affect our health."

"Furthermore, it leads to people being dishonest by wronging what is right and allowing what is wrong," the Crown Prince added.

The Senior Minister also said that the introduction of the Corruption Prevention Education into the National Curriculum reflects the determination to eradicate corruption and such effort requires the support of all party in ensuring that he machinery of government functions cleanly, efficiently and transparently whilst at the same time provides confidence to foreign investors coming into the country.

"The early inculcation of corruption amongst students is a vital strategy to create and develop a community that abhors corruption," said the Crown Prince.

He added that that the younger generations are our future leaders and that they should be taught to combat corruption similar to the way they are taught on the dangers of drugs abuse.

Earlier in a speech by Director of the Anti Corruption Bureau, Datin Paduka Dayang Hajah Intan binti Hj Md Kassim, she noted that the Corruption Prevention Education programme is jointly initiated by the ACB and the Curriculum Development Department (CDD) of the Ministry of Education.

The Corruption Prevention Education will be taught under subjects such as Civics at primary level and Melayu Islam Beraja at secondary level. Brunei Shell Group of Companies Sendirian Berhad as part of its community investment, has donated $50,000 towards the publication of books and educational songs with the corruption prevention theme.

The programme is in accordance with the recommendation contained in the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, which was signed by Brunei Darussalam in December 2003.

Preparation for the implementation of this programme was conducted jointly by ACB and CDD through the Corruption Prevention Education Steering Committee and the Corruption Prevention Education Working Committee.

Shortly after the launch, HRH the Crown Prince toured an exhibition held jointly by the ACB and CDD displaying the books and publications on corruption prevention and corruption prevention education.

Also present during the launch were senior government ministers, deputy ministers, Permanent Secretaries, members of the diplomatic corps and other invited guests. - Borneo Bulletin (8th Jan 2006)