PETALING JAYA: The Governance, Integrity, Accountability and Transparency (Giat) coalition has called on government’s MPs who have yet to declare their assets to do so within two weeks from Nov 1.
Giat, a coalition of seven civil society organisations, at a press conference today said it would work to name and shame those who fail to declare their assets, after the two week period ends on Nov 14.
“This is quite clearly a ‘tidak apa’ attitude. Therefore, we are giving them a time frame, and if they do not declare their assets within two weeks, Giat will actually decide to, perhaps, name and shame individuals who fail to do so,” said Giat spokesperson Cynthia Gabriel.
She said although the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has publicly affirmed many times that the government MPs need to submit their declarations, 10 ministers and 34 MPs have yet to do so, according to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) asset declaration portal (mydeclaration.sprm.gov.my).
Pakatan Harapan in its election manifesto stated that all members of the Dewan Rakyat, Dewan Negara, and government officials with Jusa C ranking and above, will be obliged to make a declaration of assets and income (Promise 14).
Meanwhile, Gabriel, who is also the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) executive director, expressed her disappointment on the existing declaration information that was made available on the portal.
“What was declared so far were just their incomes since they got sworn-in. It is nowhere close to asset declaration.
“Declaration of asset means, you have to list all your assets including your salary, bank accounts, shares, properties, as well as what you have overseas.
“However, nothing like that came up and the first reaction was this was not right. It did not look at all complete and could even be an attempted dishonest portrayal of what was supposed to be completely far more elaborate.”
She said Dr Mahathir had repeatedly said that asset declaration was extremely important to deter corruption.
“There is nothing wrong being rich, but the problem is when you step into political power, holding millions of taxpayers’ money.
“We as civil citizens want to ensure that the money is not being misappropriated.”
Her sentiment was echoed by the Malaysian Society for Transparency and Integrity secretary-general Dr Muhammad Mohan, who said that asset declaration would serve as a check and balance.
“The lure and temptation of being in power is that there is so much access to contracts and deals, therefore it can be easily abused,” he said, adding that if MPs were unable to declare their assets for some reason, then they should explain why.