Vietnam plea for "major surgery on corruption"

Thanh Nien, the newspaper of Vietnam’s Youth Association, has published a public plea by Thanh Thao for an anti-corruption drive in the nation's sport and government. The newspaper has been a beacon in the struggle against crime, particularly involving football match-fixing and illegal gambling and its website has alerted the world to the gradual mobilisation of police and court action. The full text of the 5 April editorial follows:

The recent scandal involving multi-million-dollar embezzlement from infrastructure projects has sent shockwaves across Vietnam and requires the immediate removal of the diseased parts, the tumor. Transport minister Dao Dinh Binh has just slid down the “greasy pole”. He climbed up fast and descended faster. However, let’s put that aside.

What the public concern now is not whether H.E. Binh has resigned, been dismissed or both. It is also not the matter whether former permanent deputy minister [second only to the minister] Nguyen Viet Tien will be prosecuted or not. What should come will come.

What’s of public concern most now is what lessons the Vietnamese communist party and state has drawn from this scandal.

A single case of extravagance or indulgence entertained by the arrested PMU18 director Bui Tien Dung would cause anyone to shudder in disgust. PMU18 is an agency under the transport ministry responsible for managing several major infrastructure projects throughout Vietnam. Thus, Vietnamese people have been paying taxes so far to nourish corrupt officials who did not hesitate to slice off huge foreign loans to feed their wild hunger and indulge in their wildest fantasies.

Dung maintained at least several mistresses, each enjoying mansions and cars at their disposal. Dung and Tien once entered a restaurant, quarreled with the owner and broke his two teeth suspected to be over young waitresses. Had director Dung not been fortuitously found gambling millions of dollars on football, he and his seniors could climb higher and even penetrate the Party’s Central Committee. Perhaps only God knows who has succored and supported them during all those times, and for what purpose.

Dung’s and Tien’s recent arrest is a great breakthrough in a case serving as a great milestone for the nation, sending a clear message to all Vietnamese patriots and law-abiding citizens:

“The country cannot stand any longer the ‘tumor’ threatening to metastasize, ravaging its host body. Now, more than ever, just cut out the tumor from the body before it is too late”.

Though it is quite late now to talk of a major surgery on corruption, late is better than never. Normally, any surgery will inflict bodily pain on a patient. This one is more. It will as well deal enormous emotional distress.

Whatever, those who would probably depart after the scandal is nothing compared to the departure of a whole people’s faith.

Just think about it and act.

See also: Vietnam Minister suspended over illegal betting (23 Mar) and Vietnamese officials bet thousands on football (2 Feb) and Senior official arrested for gambling in Vietnam (23 Jan)