KUALA LUMPUR - Growing income disparity and uneven distribution of wealth will expose more Malaysians to the culture of petty corruption, said the Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.
Citing data from the New Economic Model report, which showed that 80 per cent of Malaysian households earned less than RM5,000 (S$1,900) a month and 78.6 per cent of Employees Provident Fund members earned less than RM3,000 a month, he said many were forced to take second jobs due to the rising cost of living.
"What are the options for civil servants and professionals if their salaries are not enough to pay for their daily expenses?
"This is the reality in the country. The number of those in this category will only increase if effective formulas focusing on housing, food, health and transportation are not introduced.
"The country cannot be in denial of the reality on the challenges that it is facing. It is a big challenge to the country. It is not a temporary sore throat that can be cured with a Strepsil.
"It is a serious social disease, needing intensive treatment from society's doctors and surgeons, and a formula for a cure from social pharmacies which can dispense comprehensive and holistic social policies," he said at the 47th anniversary of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) celebration yesterday.
Corruption, said the Ruler, were committed by two types of people - those who were desperate due to the hardships in life and those consumed by greed, usually the people occupying high-ranking positions or desiring lavish lifestyles.
As such, the Sultan said, combating corruption required punitive measures that were stern and non-selective as well as preventive to strengthen integrity.