1. Firstly, I would like to congratulate the Qatar Government for organising this significant event and to thank the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for supporting it.
2. Secondly, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the committee of the Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award for choosing Putrajaya, Malaysia as the venue for this year’s ceremony. This event being organised in Malaysia is an important recognition from the international community on our efforts in combatting corruption in Malaysia.
3. Malaysia and Malaysians made history in its May 9th election when the coalition that ruled since independence was voted out. Without doubt, it was the disgust for corruption that led the majority of Malaysians to stand up and vote out the previous administration.
4. It is therefore incumbent upon us to ensure efforts to improve governance and introduce anti-corruption initiatives intended at bringing an end to corrupt practices and abuse of power.
5. We are not proud that at one time that Malaysia was described as a kleptocracy. We are today pulling all stops to not only remove the tag but also to remind all in Malaysia that corruption is not something to be tolerated. It should be treated with disgust and anger.
6. Only by reducing corrupt practices can the Government and nation move forward. Malaysia and Malaysians can only consider themselves developed when they can resist corruption and put a stop to it.
7. This ceremony and the philosophy behind the Anti-corruption Excellent (ACE) Award emphasises that we should uphold with high regard values of integrity and good governance in our countries and in our organisations. It is imperative for us to raise our values and standards regardless of what colour or creed. This is the only way to move Malaysia forward.
8. If we want to join the ranks of developed countries, to be the tigers of Asia again, then we need to take corruption seriously. We did not get there by taking shortcuts to success.
9. I think it is about time for Malaysia to join this list of developed and capable countries and let the world know that we are a strong nation that respects democracy and the rule of law.
10. Just as this ceremony signifies, it is important for countries to work together and learn from each other on issues of corruption and good governance. Earlier today we witnessed the unveiling of a statue in the shape of a lifted hand in Putrajaya sponsored by the Qatar government. The Hand represents the efforts of the international community to come together and work hand-in-hand to fight a common enemy which is corruption. We are grateful and very honoured to receive this symbolic gesture and will try our best to live by the values it represents.
11. Corruption is an awful thing, one that can bring irreparable damages to society and nation. Therefore, it is not the people who engage in corruption whom we should look up to, but instead, we should celebrate the people who are working to fight it every day, which is why we are here today.
12. The recipients of this year’s awards have done outstanding work through academic research, creativity, lifetime engagement, and innovation in combating corruption in their respective communities.
13. I hope our fellow Malaysians can draw inspirations from your works and that it would lead to increased awareness of the importance of having integrity.
14. I hope this ceremony will cause members of both the public sector and the private sector to realise that it is integrity and good governance that will allow a country to grow, to develop, to prosper and to keep moving forward.
15. As a way to show our support to the great work and commitment shown by many leaders of the Anti-Corruption Authority around the world, the Government of Malaysia would like to support the initiative proposed by the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) to set up a special fund in support of the many incidences where the champions of anti-corruption had suffered in line of duties, some were injured and others even killed. For this effort, we pledge support to the amount of RM500, 000 to IAACA champion’s fund. We hope this small gesture will start the ball rolling for the foundation to raise more funds, in order to help the family of the fallen heroes.
16. Ladies and gentlemen, there are many more initiatives needing to be done and many more policies that we have to put in place. We cannot expect everything to happen overnight. This is our struggle.
17. We want Malaysia to be known for its integrity.
18. I would like to congratulate in advance all the recipients and winners of 2018 Anti-corruption Excellence Award.