CONGRATULATIONS to Puan Latheefa Koya on her appointment as chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission for two years. And I strongly urge MACC to explore, address and integrate anti-corruption initiatives into the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
It is a global plan of action with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets to end poverty by 2030, protect the planet, ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity, and pursue a sustainable future.
Malaysia is committed to supporting and implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a systematic and measurable manner.
SDG No. 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions.
SDG No. 16 and its target to reduce bribery, strengthen institutions and access information are not only valuable aspirations but also are vital conditions for the achievement of the 17 goals.
Anti-corruption initiatives and SDGs have similar objectives. For example, they have the objective of combating inequities and promoting transparency, quality and wellness for the people without discrimination.
SDG No. 16 creates an enabling environment to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
It plays a vital role as the “enabler” of the 17 goals of the 2030 Agenda.
While the 2030 Agenda has made an explicit link between corruption and peaceful, just and inclusive societies under SDG No. 16, the fight against corruption concerns all SDGs. Anti-corruption efforts are essential to make progress on sustainable development.
Integrating anti-corruption initiatives into the SDGs starts with asking the question — how can corruption impede progress on what we are trying to achieve?
If actors at all levels start to consider corruption risk as part of their strategic planning and activity planning and implementation, that would mean substantial progress.
It can be done through effective anti-corruption legislation, effective implementation of anti-corruption legislation, building strong and autonomous institutions that are free from political pressures and agendas, and setting zero-tolerance against corruption, raising awareness and letting people know how harmful corruption is for development.
We cannot ignore that corruption may derail the 2030 Agenda.
It is best to call for complementary adoption of anti-corruption initiatives in the SDGs.
It would be better and more challenging if the National Anti-Corruption Plan (2019-2023) encapsulates anti-corruption and SDGs that foster an end to poverty, protect the planet, and advance prosperity and peace in parallel with making Malaysia a greater corrupt-free nation that promotes transparency, accountability and integrity.
Successes of anti-corruption initiatives will instil confidence in the citizenry when they are assured that duty bearers will be held accountable for their action and inaction.