But Beware Anyway
There is a letter by "Concerned Citizen" from Shah Alam in the Sun today (Speak Up! page 16), expressing the writer's concern that if public officials in this beloved country of ours (last four words are mine) continue to abuse their powers, we may go the "kleptocracy" way. Oh! Heaven Forbids!
"Concerned citizen" was thanking the Sun for the paper's good work in publishing what he describes as "all the interesting (and frustrating) no-holds-barred news".
He went on to say that he was reminded of an international Monetary Fund report in a financial magazine in 1985 referring to an African country as a "kleptocracy", which the magazine described as "a government of thieves".
"Concerned citizen" said: "Unless something is done by the powers-that-be about the way things are happening, I am afraid the above word may be used to describe our country."
Touch wood, I say!
Here's what Wikipedia says:
"Kleptocracies are often dictatorships or some other form of autocratic government, or lapsed democracies that have transformed into oligarchies, since democracy makes outright thievery for direct personal gain slightly more difficult to sustain in the long term and still remain in power, more subtlety is employed. Some kleptocracies are a reponse to jingoism, and frequent bullying in the government place itself.
......The protection society has against kleptocracy is largely dependent on the effectiveness of the rule of law to prevent political leaders abusing their powers, the free flow of information (necessary to properly identify kleptocrats) and ability of the population to remove corrupt leaders from office. Many such protections are included in legal documents such as a constitution or a bill of rights and are also found in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 17."
And here's what our old friend, Dubya, said not too long ago (Aug 10, 2006) on kleptocracy. You may or may not take his word for it:
"For too long, the culture of corruption has undercut development and good governance and bred criminality and mistrust around the world. High-level corruption by senior government officials, or kleptocracy, is a grave and corrosive abuse of power and represents the most invidious type of public corruption. It threatens our national interest and violates our values. It impedes our efforts to promote freedom and democracy, end poverty, and combat international crime and terrorism. Kleptocracy is an obstacle to democratic progress, undermines faith in government institutions, and steals prosperity from the people. Promoting transparent, accountable governance is a critical component of our freedom agenda."
Well, folks. I suppose we have to ask ourselves this -- Is our government characterised by rampant greed and corruption?
You think this is a stupid question?