KUALA LUMPUR: The importance of integrity should be instilled from an early age, including within school settings, to prepare the future workforce for both private and public sectors with a strong commitment to avoiding abuse of power and corruption.

Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) chairman, Tan Sri Dr Ismail Bakar highlighted the need to integrate integrity topics into school curricula, such as civics, to emphasise the significance of personal integrity in fulfilling responsibilities.

“While not obligatory, integrating integrity education into the curriculum is a cost-effective means to cultivate this essential value. It hinges on our willingness to prioritise it.

Equally crucial is parental guidance in teaching children right from wrong, a fundamental aspect for their upbringing,“ he said when appearing as a guest on Bernama TV’s ‘Ruang Bicara’ programme on the topic “Integrity in Enforcement: Building a Nation of Dignity” tonight.

Ismail emphasised the importance of reevaluating and strengthening the selection and appointment processes for public servants to ensure a comprehensive integration of integrity reforms and to mitigate shortcomings in the public sector.

“It is crucial to ensure that only truly qualified candidates are recruited into public service, especially in enforcement agencies endowed with significant powers for their daily operations.

“Sometimes, despite their impressive academic qualifications, individuals may exhibit a different demeanor once they assume their roles. Therefore, we must rigorously scrutinise the recruitment process,“ he said.

Yesterday, Ismail disclosed that the commission had received 176 complaints related to misconduct this year, with the majority involving the Immigration Department (JIM).

He highlighted that among these 176 complaints, the primary issues included failures to take appropriate action, resulting in complainants’ dissatisfaction (59 complaints), agencies not adhering to standard operating procedures (37), abuses of power (24), and instances of corruption (19).