He said large-scale corruption had recently been uncovered although more and more from the Malay community were becoming professionals and academics.
“When the country achieved independence, the Malay-Muslim community only knew the Malay academic who went by Pendeta Za’ba. You couldn’t find Malay scholars with philosophy doctorates.
“Yet the country did not see corruption practised on the scale reported today,” he said in his speech at the Golden Jubilee celebration of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs Malaysia.
He said the Islamic teachings at the time had built strong integrity within the Malay community which prevented them from committing acts that would threaten their dignity.
“It kept many Malay-Muslim officers from doing evil and sinning through breach of trust, corruption and misuse of power,” he added.
He also said Islam used to be taught by teachers who did not have degrees or diplomas, and who travelled by foot or bicycle to teach at huts and suraus.
Yet, he said, they had formed a generation strong in their faith and principles.
He said the Islam he was taught emphasised the values of integrity and trust.
“Is the level of poverty so great that it would cause villagers from two different villages to fight over food that’s not theirs from a lorry spill?
“If that is the level of poverty they face, which causes the people to forget the law and what’s right and wrong, evidently there are institutions including religious ones that have not fulfilled their responsibility to help people who are poor and underprivileged,” he said.