Exposed: Shining A Light On Corruption
MALAYSIA is in its Jubilee year, a time that calls for consecration and liberty. There are various on-going prayer initiatives but besides prayer, what actions can we engage in to realise Jubilee?
One area that demands action is the issue of corruption, a massive global problem. It is estimated that that US$1 trillion is paid in bribes each year globally. Nearly US$6 trillion was stolen from poor countries between 2001 and 2010. Illicit outflows from the developing world totaled US$859 billion in 2010. Of this, US$64 billion was from Malaysia, making it the world's number two, second only to China. To top it off, Malaysia was also 'world champion' in bribery in a Transparency International 2012 survey of 30 countries.
Corruption is defined as the abuse of power for private gain at the expense of others. It happens at every level and in every place. At the highest levels, it may involve misuse of public funds, obstruction of justice, or taking and giving payments in return for favours. There is also 'petty corruption' because it takes place in local communities. It might be bribes in return for a public service or to get out of trouble.
Why should we care about corruption? Because God does! Corruption is driven by greed and covetousness, which is idolatry (Col 3:5), and robs God of His glory and rightful place in our hearts. Corruption and secrecy hinders God's justice, stealing resources that belong to families, communities and nations.
Corruption affects everyone in society with the greatest impact on the poor. In Malaysia, absolute poverty has been reduced, but for the last 20 years, there has been no improvement in income equality. Corruption just worsens the situation.
We usually get very angry at grand corruption and the corrupt practices of the 'powerful' but how do we feel about our own 'involvement' in the petty, day-to-day bribery and tax avoidance? Are we mere victims with no choice? Are we also responsible for a culture where corruption flourishes through our collusion and silence?
What is EXPOSED?
EXPOSED is a global call to action against corruption. EXPOSED is a response of the Christian Church inspired by the Bible and is committed to promoting practical steps for ethical behaviour in business, government, the Church and society as a whole.
It aims to mobilise 100 million Christians in 100 nations as advocates and practitioners of justice so that resources are shared equitably and all have the opportunity to flourish.
Launched worldwide in October 2012, the EXPOSED campaign will culminate in vigils around the globe and a global call to petition the G20 countries during the week of 14-20 October 2013.
In Malaysia, EXPOSED is coordinated by CANOPI (Christian Advocacy Network on Poverty Issues), a loose network which aims to bring together Christians across denominations to be a voice for the poor. EXPOSED was launched here on 6 October 2012 on RunNat Day, followed by communications mainly on social media.
EXPOSED calls for three actions:
- Light My Heart - make a personal commitment to stand against corruption.
- Light My Community - join a vigil against corruption from 14-20 October 2013.
- Light My World - Sign the Global Call asking leaders of the most powerful nations (G20) to ensure financial dealings in business and government are open and honest.
We want to bring God's light and hope to this global problem - starting with our own behaviour and attitudes, then getting our church involved and also taking action at the highest levels. We want the church to have an impact.
We are developing an Action Kit to engage churches. The kit will consist of a booklet (introduction, information and 'how-to') and a CD of videos, a Powerpoint presentation and designs of promotional materials. The kit, in English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and Tamil, should be ready by March 2013.
For more information, please visit www.EXPOSED2013.com and www.canopi-msia.org. Contact Joyce/Keith at 03-90582102 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow us on Facebook (Canopi.Msia) & Youtube (canopimsia).
Article contributed by Joyce Thong, Malaysian Care Communications Assistant Director.
1 Interview with Daniel Kaufman, Global Governance Director, The World Bank Institute, "Six Questions about the cost of corruption" April 8th 2004
2 Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries 2001-2010, Global Financial Integrity
3 Malaysian firms lose deals due to bribery, TI survey shows, The Malaysian Insider, 5 Dec 2012, http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/ litee/malaysia/article/malaysian-firms-lose-deals-due-to-bribery-ti- survey-shows