Graft, like sex, is a two-way thingy. The fight against corruption in this country is made doubly difficult with the current emphasis more on nabbing the receiver and not the giver. There is also a crying need to protect whistle-blowers.
On Tuesday 22nd May 2007, former High Court judge Dato Syed Ahmad Idid gave a talk on "Addressing Corruption in Malaysia" at the University of Malaya. This man had to quit his job some years ago after his letter exposing corruption and abuse of power in the judiciary was dismissed by his superiors. (Read Rocky Bru's take on the talk, here. I couldn't make it due to a prior engagement).
I had the good fortune of making the learned ex-judge's acquaintance a couple of years ago when he was the Director of the Kuala Lumpur Regional Center of Arbitration (KLRCA)* and I was a senior council member of Institut Kelautan Malaysia (IKMAL). We were then engaged in developing and promoting maritime arbitration in this country. He had struck me as an incorruptible and principled gentleman of the old school who had to suffer in silence for many years for something that he truly believed in.
It takes balls to rat on your colleagues but I suppose a guy has gotta do what a guy has gotta do, especially when it involves the very integrity of the country's judicial system. Dato Syed Ahmad Idid (I had joked that he resembles Kentucky Fried Chicken's Colonel Sanders !) has been quoted by the press that he has no regrets and given the chance, he would do it all over again.
Way to go, judge.
*Above photo taken at KLRCA circa 2005, (from left) Dato Syed Ahmad Idid, yours truly, KLRCA's Ms Yeo and current director Dato Noorashikin.