Eradicating corruption in Myanmar

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By: Tommy Pauk

The uprooted corruption in Myanmar is one of the issues or challenges for the democratic government. Until 2012, the corruption was rife in Myanmar. The notoriety of corruption tarnished the image of country and the general public disgusted the people in authority or in power. Thus, there had been lack of trust and cooperation between the public and the corrupt regimes in the last two decades. During the eras of the succeeding regimes, Myanmar had been notorious for the prevalence of malfeasance, malpractice and corruption among the public officials or public servants.
Actually malfeasance and malpractice are related to acts of bribery and corruption. In other words, they all are immoral, illegal and unfair practices. Public were reluctant to deal with public officials whenever they wanted to get access the public services. Bribery and corruption were blatantly practiced in various government offices and organizations. From top to bottom layer of hierarchy, almost every official was corrupt to some degree. The reason why they became corrupt personnel was that their salaries or wages were too low to tackle the skyrocketing prices of commodities and rising cost of living. Then they committed corruption when they were in authority. In spite of knowing that it is the violation of the public servant ethics, the corrupt public officials did not care the potential punishment by law or dismissal. At that time, rule of law was totally ignored by the corrupt officials. Even when the public lodged complaints against the officials for the bribery and corruption, the punitive action was not given to the corrupt officials. The general public have bitterly encountered the corrupt public services personnel and delayed services. Moreover, public had to go through endless bureaucratic red tape to get some official permit or approval for doing legal business or trade.
Those who committed malfeasance, malpractice and corruption are in the administration or in the position of power. Some people in their profession commit malpractice as well. Obviously, their behavior and acts made the ordinary people troublesome and caused serious impediment to the socio-economic development. All those involved in corruption must be brought to justice for the violation of law and abuse of power indeed. During the eras of the succeeding of the regimes, rule of law was totally neglected and the judicial system was influenced by the regimes.
N.B. The Penal Code, enacted in 1861 is still in effect till now. “Of Offences By or Related to Public Servants “ have been described from section 161 to 171 in Chapter IX in the Penal Code. These offences are related to corruption committed by Public servants. However, corruption has not been eradicated and it impeded economic growth badly.
As a result, people became hapless and hopeless for choosing the incorruptible administrators and clean government. People were inclined to replace the corrupt administrators with the righteous ones by any means.
Now, people’s desires for smooth transition, rights of democracy, good governance and clean government are being fulfilled by the democratically elected government. Furthermore, the Anti-Corruption Law had been enacted in 2013 and the Anti-Corruption Commission was formed in August 2013 in order to investigate and prosecute the violations of Myanmar Anti-Corruption Law. The Anti-Corruption Commission investigates allegations of corruption involving public officials. In addition, the Anti-Corruption Commission takes legal action against those who commits or attempts or abets any offences contained in the Anti-Corruption Law. Anti-Corruption Commission‘s motto is “ No corruption for Prosperous Nation “and it is performing its duties and functions properly. People are also exhorted to give correct information and complaints with sufficient evidence to the Anti-Corruption Commission whenever they encounter corruption in the public services sector. The Anti-Corruption Commission receives the complaints and information in respect to bribery and corruption. Due to effective manner of the Anti-Corruption Commission and the people’s participation in combating corruption, public sector corruption cases have dramatically declined in Myanmar.
According to Transparency International’s “ Corruption Perceptions Index of 2014 Results , Myanmar had been ranked 156 out of 174 countries. As of Transparency International’s “ Corruption Perceptions Index of 2015 Results, Myanmar was ranked 147 out of 167 countries. Then, as of Transparency International’s “ Corruption Perceptions Index of 2016” Results, Myanmar was ranked 136 out of 176 countries. These ranks indicate that Myanmar has been combating corruption in the country effectively with the Anti-Corruption Law (2013).
Eradicating corruption in Myanmar is considered a national task. Myanmar must try to regain good reputation as a corruption –free country so that it can build up economic growth. People, government, law enforcement and the Anti-Corruption Commission are responsible for eradicating corruption in Myanmar. The functions and duties performed by the Anti-Corruption Commission are encouraging. The citizens appreciate its performance indeed. In conclusion, we Myanmar people ought to work together with the present government to tackle the corruption problem and ought not to encourage corruption!

Resources: Transparency International, Myanmar Penal Code (1861), the Myanmar Anti-Corruption Law (2013).

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