Have we become a nation of crooks?


By Fa Abdul

I was at a private hospital the other day to visit a friend. Since my tummy was rumbling, I popped into the hospital’s makan place next to the lobby.

After giving the food on display a once over, I settled for a humble, pre-packed sandwich costing RM3. I then lined-up patiently behind a long zigzag of people and waited for my turn at the cashier.

As I handed three one ringgit notes, the cashier said, “RM3.20.” So I gave him a twenty sen coin and walked away, gobbling-up my tuna sandwich.

A few minutes later, I bumped into my brother who had also come to visit the same friend.

“Did you get the sandwich downstairs? How much did they charge you?” he asked.


“I bet the sandwich was RM3 but the cashier asked you for RM3.20, right?”

“Yes, but how did you know that?” I was clearly baffled.


“It happens all the time. The other day I was here for a check-up and decided to have mee goreng at the same place. My bill came to RM5.80 but I was charged RM6 by the cashier. I asked what the additional 20 sen was for and he began mumbling all sorts of explanations. Finally, I gave him RM6 and requested for a receipt. Guess what happened next?” asked my brother with a smirk on his face.

“What???” I was clearly eager to know.

“He took my RM6 and returned 20 sen together with a receipt for RM5.80!” he chuckled.

Apparently, the cashier and a few of his friends had been making it a habit to overcharge every customer an additional 20 sen – this was their way, I guess, of making easy money. According to my brother, it had become somewhat the norm to overcharge customers this way since most people would assume the extra was on account of the GST and service tax.

“Trust me, it happens in many places. That’s why you must always demand for a receipt.”

Darn it! I wonder how many times I have overpaid without realising it – and how many other people have been conned to pay extra. Geez!

Looks like trust is a quality we should exercise with caution these days.

While we have grown somewhat accustomed to being robbed in broad daylight by those higher up the food chain who we entrust to safeguard our welfare, it is disconcerting to know that there are many of our own brothers and sisters who are out to make a quick buck off us as well.

To say it is disappointing and frustrating does not begin to describe it.

The thing is, if we cannot depend on each other for honesty and fairness, how are we ever going to clean up our nation from the crooks higher up who are robbing us blind?

How are we supposed to stand up against those thieves when we have thieves among ourselves? – FMT

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