72% of youngsters not aware of CPIB’s existence: Survey
Concerned about complacency among the young, anti-graft agency launches e-book on corruption
Singapore's hard stance against corruption over the decades may have left younger generations ignorant of the consequences of bribing someone in exchange for a favour.
In a survey by Republic Polytechnic students earlier this year, only about a third, or 34.1 per cent, of around 1,000 respondents aged between 15 and 25 said they came across the topic of corruption in school.
And almost three-quarters of them, or 72.2 per cent, were not aware of the existence of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).
Ms Clare Tan, the bureau's senior deputy director for planning, research and corporate relations, said this ignorance could lead some young people to unknowingly engage in corruption.
She said: "In the early days, there was rampant corruption in Singapore and those who lived through those times would be aware of it.
"Given the low number of such cases today, complacency may creep in among our youth who are the future of Singapore."
Teenagers that The New Paper spoke to feel more can be done to educate young people in school.
Second-year polytechnic student Spencer Chen, 19, said: "We are not exposed to such topics in school as much as I think we should be."
To tackle this lack of awareness, the CPIB launched an e-book on corruption on its website last month.
Titled The Corruption Casebook - Stories From Under The Table, it features 16 real corruption cases in short paragraphs with colourful illustrations.
Ms Tan said the cases were selected to show how acts of corruption can have far-reaching consequences on society, including national security and public health.
In a 2018 case, a construction site manager paid contractors hired by the National Environment Agency to warn him of mosquito breeding inspections at a site he was overseeing.
The book explains how the bribes compromised the integrity of mosquito inspections and could lead to a rise in potential hot spots for dengue - a national health concern in recent years.
Ms Tan said: "We hope that reading this book will help young people who have not been exposed to corruption to better understand the different elements of a corrupt act and deter them from committing such acts."
The author, Mr Melvinderpal Singh, a former deputy editor at TNP, said: "The book aims to educate the young about corruption by raising their awareness of its costs and implications.
"The selected cases are relatable and may even warrant the surprise, 'Oh I didn't know that is a bribe'."
For example, even paying someone off with a dollar constitutes a bribe.
Two forklift operators did just that by regularly collecting $1 from each lorry driver in exchange for not delaying the loading and unloading process.
One of them collected about $4,900 in bribes from February 2016 to March 2018, and the other about $10,900 from September 2013 to March 2018.
Both of them were caught and sentenced to jail. They were ordered to pay fines equivalent to the amounts they had collected in bribes.
The book explains: "The CPIB will investigate whether the sum involved is $1 or $1 million... Such actions can undermine Singapore's efficiency in the logistics services."
Before the book was published, the CPIB consulted St Joseph's Institution students on what cases they found most interesting.
Based on their feedback, a chapter on sports corruption, specifically match fixing in football, was included in the book.
- To read the e-book, go to: www.cpib.gov.sg