KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Members of Parliament will not declare their assets until the special parliamentary motion is made into law, said Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan.
The Pontian MP was responding to a question on a comment by Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon that many opposition MPs, especially from Barisan Nasional (BN), have yet to declare their assets.
“A majority of the Barisan Nasional members feel that Parliament does not have the power to force us to declare our assets based on the law.
“The declaration of assets requirement should be made in an act, not just a motion in Parliament.
“We will declare (our assets) if there is a law that requires us to (do so), or maybe an amendment made into existing acts related to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) or the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN), ” he told the New Straits Times at Parliament today.
Ahmad, who was formerly Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, said that he, in fact, declared his assets twice while a Cabinet minister, as did other former ministers.
“Most of us have declared our assets, but not to Parliament. Like me, I have done it twice to Cabinet, and files are still there at the Prime Minister’s Department if the MACC or LHDN want to have a look at them.
“We feel that Parliament has no right to force us to declare assets which will be made public, and raises safety and security issues for the MPs.
“Even some (politicians) from the other side have told us that they feel that their safety is threatened since declaring their assets… so that is why we don’t want to be burdened with things like that,” he said.
Meanwhile, MCA president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said MPs should focus more on their work to serve the people, instead of returning calls to declare assets.
Ka Siong said the focus of the party’s two sole MPs will be on prioritising their work for the people and not “being bothered with outside opinions”.
During a press conference today, both Ka Siong and newly-elected MCA Tanjung Piai Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng were asked if the latter would be declaring his assets any time soon.
“Don’t worry, he just reported to Parliament today and has not received anything such as specific orders from Parliament.
“His priority is to serve, and bring up issues (concerning) his constituents. (He doesn’t need) to worry about others (commenting on opposition MPs declaring their assets),” Ka Siong told reporters at Parliament’s lobby here, today.
Nevertheless, Jeck Seng said that it would not be a problem for him to declare his assets, without elaborating.
On July 1, the Dewan Rakyat approved a special motion for all Members of Parliament, senators, as well as their immediate family members, to declare their assets within a three-month period, which was until Oct 1, to fill a declaration form which had to be submitted to the Dewan Rakyat speaker and the MACC chief.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong, who is in charge of law and tabled the motion for debate, said that with the motion being passed, MPs are now required to declare their assets as well as the assets of their spouses, children aged 21 and above, and those of their related trust holders.
Each declaration consists of three forms for personal asset declaration, additional asset declaration, and disposal of assets made under the Statutory Declarations Act 1960.
MPs who make false asset declarations would violate laws under the Statutory Declarations Act 1960, as they are bound by Act 783 (Statutory Declarations Act 1960) and Section 199 of the Penal Code.
Among the MPs who opposed the special motion was Pas secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, who said that there is no "force of law" behind the motion, as the Dewan Rakyat Speaker has no power to punish lawmakers who fail to declare their assets.
Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa, meanwhile, said that Parliament's Select Committee on Rights and Privileges Committee is confined to dealing with matters referred to it by the August House.