On May 9 2018, Malaysians made history by voting in a new ruling government for the first time in 60 years
The stunning GE14 results mark a proud moment for Malaysia and truly showcases the desire for change in the country.
While the government continues to work hard to build a new Malaysia, we the rakyat can actually also do our part to help
However, this transition and journey of change hasn't been an easy one, thanks in large part to the lasting effects of corruption standing in the way of our country's progress.
At a Putrajaya town-hall session on 15 August 2018, our Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad emphasised what a huge issue corruption is in our country.
Bernama reported that his address to Cabinet ministers and about 3,500 administrative and diplomatic officers (PTD) included a strong declaration on how there would be “no pity, no consideration and no cover-up" for government officials involved in corruption.
In response to efforts to combat corruption, there's even an online pledge going around, encouraging Malaysians to step up and help fight corruption.
Did you know that organised crime cartels are one of the biggest contributors towards corruption in Malaysia?
By bribing officials to look the other way, these cartels are getting away with everything from theft to murder. A huge misconception most Malaysians have is that the illegal activities of these cartels don't impact their everyday lives.
But by allowing them to run rampant unchecked for years now, we're actually allowing them to make our society a more dangerous place to live. This impacts everyone.
The biggest question here is where do these cartels get the money they need to bribe Malaysian officials, which contributes to the rise of corruption?
It's actually through the sale of illegal products. The huge amounts of money earned through this not only allows these cartels to continue contributing to corruption in Malaysia, but also directly impacts our government by causing a loss of revenue.
In 2017, it's estimated that our country lost a whopping RM8 billion due to the sale of illegal products! Just imagine what a long way all that money would have gone to fulfilling the '10 Janji 100 Hari' manifesto.
By continuing to buy illegal products, you're not just supporting the criminal activity of these cartels, you're actually also directly contributing to the detriment of our country.
It's important to note that the term illegal products doesn't just refer to fake versions of luxury brands like Gucci bags, Supreme tees, or Rolex watches
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the counterfeit industry is incredibly widespread, including all kinds of industries and sectors such as technology, books, appliances, food, toys, pharmaceuticals, and more.
The OECD also emphasised that these products are often of low quality and not up to industry standards, which could end up causing serious health and safety issues for consumers.
Illegal products have become so rampant in our society, many people don’t even realise when they purchase them. Here are some ways you may have unknowingly consumed contraband goods:
1. Buying illegal cigarettes from your local kedai runcit
2. Getting fake car parts from unauthorised dealers
Depending on the model of your car, genuine car parts can be both really expensive and difficult to find. So it can be hard to resist a cheap alternative, especially when you're only looking to replace a tiny part.
But you should never settle for anything other than original parts from authorised dealers, even for the smallest of things. By using fake parts, you're putting the safety of you and your loved ones at risk.
3. Accidentally purchasing counterfeit goods online
There's a reason why online sellers are able to provide such attractive deals for the products - sometimes what they're selling is a complete knockoff or made with subpar materials.
It can be really difficult to spot a fake, especially online where images can easily be manipulated to trick you into thinking you're getting the real thing.
Luckily, Malaysians are starting to get more savvy about their purchases
Recently, there's definitely been a shift in mindset against using fake branded goods. There have been widespread social media movements like #sapotlokal, and Instagram accounts like @streetwearbustamymalaysia dedicated to calling out fakes.
Local celebs like Vivy Yusof have even been speaking out against this issue, and encouraging their fans to help combat this industry of counterfeits.
So what can we do to help curb corruption? In short - stop supporting illegal products!
By cutting off the cartels' main source of income, this will leave them with less means to bribe our officials, thus leading to a decrease in corruption. Not only that, by legally supporting the various industries, you'll also be contributing to our country's growth and revenue.
This will in turn lead to a better Malaysia for everyone - one that's safer, has better resources, and proper means to truly benefit the rakyat.
Of course, for this vision to come true, action is also required from our officials - to take a firm stance and reject any bribes that they may be offered, choosing instead to put integrity and our country's needs first.
Here are some simple ways to identify fake products:
1. Check the items carefully - Make sure that what you're buying is made from the appropriate materials and well-constructed. Also lookout for any elements that seem out of place or any features that aren't affixed properly.
2. Note the pricing - While you should always buy from the brand’s licensed retailer, a good sale is pretty hard to pass up. But if an online sale is too good to be true, it probably is. Most brands, especially luxury brands, regulate pricing even when products are on sale.
3. Always try before you buy - Fake eyeshadow, blush, lipstick, and powder tend to have a chalkier or thinner consistency than the real deal. Also, take a whiff of the product. Many genuine products have a signature fragrance that counterfeit goods won’t be able to recreate.
4. Look out for tax stamps on cigarettes - All legal and authentic cigarette packs have a Cigarette Tax Stamp from the Royal Malaysian Customs Department. These stickers ensure you have control over whether your cigarettes are regulated or not.
Are you ready to take a stand and be part of the movement to end corruption? Do your part by taking the #JANJILEGIT pledge to reject illegal products!