Study: 1 in 3 university students blind to corruption

Malaysian Integrity Institute disappointed with findings of survey and suggests the need to re-evaluate the role of education in fostering values.
PETALING JAYA: A study by the Malaysian Integrity Institute (Integrity) recently found that many university students have only a superficial knowledge of corruption, with one in three believing that accepting “gifts” in exchange for favours is not wrong.
Integrity president Anis Yusal Yusoff said the findings were a cause for concern and showed the necessity to re-evaluate the role of education.
“We fear university students who hold such views have been influenced by the wrong role models,” he added.
The study involved a total of 402 students – 33.1% from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 47.5% from Universiti Sains Malaysia, 15.9% from Universiti Teknologi Mara and the rest from other universities.
The students surveyed also did not consider wrong several other matters generally understood as corruption.
According to the study, 35.8% of the respondents said the acceptance of gifts in the form of money, goods or services in exchange for services given was not a corrupt act.
Another 28.1% said it was not wrong to take equipment from their offices such as thumb drives, printer ink and writing instruments for their personal use.
The study also found that 37.3% of the respondents saw nothing wrong with making false claims for attending out-of-office events, for example submitting a hotel room bill despite being given free lodging.
Anis said 20.6% of the respondents saw no issue with someone tasked with appointments filling a vacancy with a family member.
He said the findings, if accepted as a yardstick of the attitude of youths, meant it was necessary to re-evaluate the values being taught at educational institutions.
“They have succeeded in going down the wrong path,” he said, adding that he feared the consequences when these youths entered employment and later became leaders.
He also asked what the findings of a similar survey carried out among non-graduates would be when the outcome of the study among university students was so disappointing.
“These findings should not be treated as trivial but should be given appropriate attention,” he said.
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