His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed and UN Secretary-General's Representative and UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) executive director Yury Fedotov honoured the winners of Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award in Putrajaya Square, in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Mohamed congratulated the Government of Qatar on organising the important event and thanked the UNODC for its support.
"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. It is an important recognition from the international community on our efforts in combatting corruption in Malaysia," he said.
"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.
"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," he said stressing that the ceremony and the philosophy behind the Anti-corruption Excellence Award emphasises that "we should uphold with high regard values of integrity and good governance in our countries and in our organisations."
"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," Malaysia's Premier said.
Dr Mohamed voiced his government’s support for 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."
Qatar's Attorney-General and UN Regional Special Advocate for the Prevention of Corruption HE Dr Ali bin Fetais al-Marri stressed that His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani hopes to strengthen the award on an international level through partnership with the UN.
"Through this prize, His Highness the Amir wishes to send a message to those who fight corruption everywhere in the world that there are those who stand with you, see your work, and will take your hand to give you an example to follow. You are those who can save your country from falling into the trap of corruption."
HE Dr al-Marri stressed that the war on corruption can be won only when those fighting believe that it can be won. "The corrupt cannot fight corruption. Unless you find a leader that believes in the elimination of corruption, you will not win, no matter how hard you fight," he said.
The top official pointed out that the award is being presented in support of the UN, recalling the first award was held in Vienna in 2016 in the presence of the former Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, and the second was held in Geneva at the UN Headquarters.
“This year, this award is being held in Kuala Lumpur, in the presence of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, in recognition for his achievement through a long history of fighting against corruption, which has helped to bring this country to its present position and economic strength,” HE Dr al-Marri added.
The UNODC executive director Yury Fedotov thanked the Government of Malaysia for hosting the award ceremony.
He recalled that 15 years ago, there was no global instrument to criminalise corruption. Now nearly every country in the world is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and they co-operate and provide mutual legal assistance to prevent and fight corruption.
“The convention represents the fundamental recognition that corruption is neither an acceptable cost of doing business nor a necessary evil. It is a serious crime, and simply unacceptable".
"This year, the Security Council and General Assembly have held high-level debates highlighting the role of corruption in conflict, and the importance of reducing corruption and bribery and returning stolen assets to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
"Corruption harms us all. It stifles growth and innovation, and enables many other crimes, from the illicit trafficking of drugs, arms and people to the poaching and pillaging of natural resources and cultural heritage."
Concluding his speech, the UNODC executive director commended His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for the International Anti-Corruption Excellence Awards to recognise exceptional efforts made by individuals, groups and organisations around the world.
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