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Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said opposition MPs must declare their assets together with the rest of the federal lawmakers in the Lower House of Parliament. NSTP/LUQMAN HAKIM ZUBIR

PUTRAJAYA: The government is ramping up efforts to check corruption by extending the asset declaration initiative to include opposition members of parliament.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said this meant that opposition MPs must declare their assets together with the rest of the federal lawmakers in the Lower House of Parliament.

“The opposition MPs can exercise some powers.

“For example, they have the power of criticising the government and they have (the) free voice (to put forward) the criticism made by somebody or others.

“(Thus), they (the opposition MPs) must also declare their assets.

“This has to go through the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat before it can be initiated,” Dr Mahathir said after chairing the 8th Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption (JKKMAR) and launching the myPortal initiative today.

Earlier, Dr Mahathir had said that the asset declaration initiative for the ruling party’s MPs was one of the respective key performance indicators (KPIs) for ministers.

The KPI requires them to ensure that administration members in their ministries declared their assets to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Dr Mahathir said the National Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Centre (GIACC) had proposed five KPIs including asset declaration initiatives to show the commitment and accountability of all ministers.

“The second proposal is to form and execute the gift policy,” he said, drawing laughter from the floor.

“This will see ministers having to sign a declaration to issue directive on the said policy and ensure it is carried out.

“What is the gift policy? Now we cannot accept many gifts.

“Previously, when I was the prime minister, I received 26 cars of which I had returned back.

“Now, the gifts received cannot be worth more than RM500. We can also accept food and flowers.

“Now, my house is full of food and flowers. So, don’t go and report to (GIACC director-general Tan Sri Abu Kassim (Mohamed).”

The other three proposed KPIs for the ministers includes rolling out anti-corruption plans at their respective organisations; to hold meetings on strengthening governance, integrity and anti-corruption at the ministerial level, as well as to boost transparency on public procurement and reduce the risk of corruption.

The prime minister also underscored the need for all quarters to play their roles in the fight against corruption.

He even highlighted some of the initiatives deliberated during the JKKMAR meeting.

Dr Mahathir said other initiatives raised in the meeting included boosting the effectiveness and transparency of public procurement based on the advice and suggestion of the technical departments such as the Works Department and technical agencies, progress made in reforming the election system.

The prime minister said efforts were also being made to improve the appointment process of top management in government-linked companies by putting candidates through tight screening processes involving various elements.

These include being vetted by the MACC; checking their status with the Insolvency Department; checking their involvement in other companies; declaring any family member who was working in companies or was involved in any procurement associated with GLCs, and to do background checks on their education qualifications.

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