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Is bribery the key to get employed in public sector in Chin?

Salai Van Cung Lian, 17 March 2018| Yes, to a large extent. In Chin State, it is highly likely that giving bribe carries more weights than either skills or experiences to get employed in public sector.

Increasing job opportunities in public sector in Chin State seem to come along with higher level of corruption. Just before the end of 2017, one public institute called for job application just a few days before application closing date. It is not easy for potential employees to apply job in such short notice. This is, in some cases, a sign of corrupt action. Furthermore, giving different information to potential clients or companies also signals bribery operates in the public procurement as well. It is possible that these are experienced bribery cases in Chin State.

 

According to an independent survey set to be published later this month by the local institution known as Chinbridge Institute, more than 80% of respondents believed that it is necessary to pay bribe to get a job in public sector. Likewise, the vast majority of respondents said that one is highly unlikely to obtain tender contract without paying bribe. This implies that bribery serves as a key determining factor not only in hiring process but also in other public procurement in Chin State.

For these reasons, it is not difficult to say bribery is the key to get employed in public sector, but hard to admit that the level of corruption is much more decreased in previous two years, particularly in Chin State, despite a slight increased score Myanmar has gained in Corruption Perception Index. Corruption, in fact, has not decreased to a large extend. Ignoring such fact will only result in a higher level of corruption.

Poverty can be one of the major factors for higher level of corruption but there are other factors too. For instance, sending corrupt civil servant to Chin State as punishment for corrupt action is the worst case indeed. Chin State is not a dust bin. Government should rather remove corrupt leaders from Chin State than accumulating more of them in Chin State.

It is time to change, and time to regain and restore public trust in government. Government should put more effort to tackle corruption. The extent to which citizen trust their government largely, if not wholly, depends on the government’s effort to detect, combat and prevent corruption.  But it would be a mistake to say that combating corruption is government’s responsibility alone. CSOs should also put more effort to combat corruption.

Chin State, according to Chin State Development Actor's Conference which was held in December last year, is the second highest poverty rate in Myanmar with 71.5% living under poverty line. Also, the state is the lowest per capita GDP in Myanmar with total population of 479,00 according to 2014 census.+

Salai Van Cung Lian, graduated in MA in Religion, Politics and Society from University of Birmingham, is a founding executive director of the Chinbridge Institute in Hakha, Chin State.