But hold on there Tommy, how do you know Nik Nak isn't right? Maybe forcing Kelantan's civil servants to pray five times a day will make them more honest and efficient!
Okay, fine, let us examine the evidence then. Here is a link to Transparency International's annual Corruption Perception Index for 2007. From its web site, "Transparency International (TI) seeks to provide reliable quantitative diagnostic tools regarding levels of transparency and corruption, both at global and local levels." According to TI, "[t]he CPI ranks more than 150 countries in terms of perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys."
Now, assuming that TI's methodologies are accurate, we should expect that the least corrupt countries in its ranking system will be deeply conservative Muslim countries. However, when you click on the link above to the CPI for 2007, the ten least corrupt countries in the Index are: Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, Iceland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, and Norway. Not a single Muslim country appears in the top ten list. Heck, even the United States only ranks number 20. The best ranked Muslim country is Qatar, which comes in at number 32. As for Malaysia, its ranking is 43.
Interesting then that the top ten countries in terms of honesty and transparency are secular countries that are not Muslim majority. So, Nik Nak, maybe instead of forcing your civil servants to pray five times a day, maybe you need to look into more meaningful ideas for reform, like perhaps better salaries and education requirements? Maybe even send a fact finding team to Denmark, that country you hate because of those stupid cartoons, to find out how they manage to have an honest civil service without bowing to Mecca five times a day.
* To my Malaysian readers who might have stumbled upon this blog by googling "Malaysia Sucks", please note that I am not saying Malaysia sucks in its entirety. I have no doubt that Malaysia is a beautiful country filled with wonderful people. My criticism of Malaysia in these posts is limited to a narrow focus on issues of religious pluralism and womens' rights. As a Muslim majority country with a not insubstantial minority of Chinese and Indian non-Muslims, Malaysia serves as an important barometer for how well a Muslim majority country can protect and promote democracy and pluralism. I want Malaysia to be a successful country, and my barbs are aimed at those persons and forces in the country that seek to turn it away from the path of a tolerant and prosperous nation.