Three cabinet ministers have no qualms about letting the public know how much they are worth.
Those interested in knowing the net worth of defence, health and agriculture and agro-based industry ministers can see for themselves what the three have under their names.
Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu, who holds the defence portfolio, is worth RM688,000.
His deputy president, Salahuddin Ayub, who is agriculture and agro-based industry minister, has a little more to his name – RM740,000.
Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad is worth RM1.98 million.
The ministers, in inking a statutory declaration between Dec 28 last year and March 13 under the Statutory Declaration Act 1960, said they had listed all their assets.
They also swore that they would not abuse their position to enrich themselves, their spouses or their children.
Their position, marital status and the number of children they have are also stated in the declaration.
Attached to the two-page declaration are records of their assets, which include the year they were acquired, how they were acquired and their value.
The attachments, also accessible to the public at http://invokemalaysia.org/en/asset-declaration-akujanji/, show the ministers’ liabilities, income, expenditure, big-ticket gifts, like the RM10,000 watch Dr Dzulkefly received from his sibling, as well as their inheritances.
The signing of each declaration was witnessed by a commissioner of oath.
Mohamad, fondly known as Mat Sabu, who declared his assets on March 13, said he had RM105,000 in savings and had invested RM220,000 in unit trusts and insurance.
He owns five properties with his wife. Their properties are valued at RM758,000. They include two plots of land in Penang and Perak.
The declaration shows that he does not have a car registered in his name.
Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, who is Johor Amanah deputy chairman, has an RM2 million home in Shah Alam, which he acquired from his father-in-law in 2003.
He bought two used cars totalling RM84,800 in 2009 and 2012.
Salahuddin is still servicing an RM70,000 loan for one of the three cars he owns.
The declaration, signed by the three ministers, was an initiative by non-governmental organisation Invoke Malaysia.
Transparency International Malaysia president Datuk Akhbar Satar said leaders must publicly declare their assets to gain public trust.
This, he said, should apply especially to ministers and deputy ministers, as well as government officials dealing with public funds.
“By doing so, the public will no longer question their integrity. It will be clear that they are working for the people.”
He said three levels of declaring assets must be observed for the process to be effective.
“The first is when a minister is sworn into office.
“Then, two years of their service, and finally, after they have finished their term.”
“The declaration of assets must, at some point, be made accessible to the public to promote accountability.”
Akhbar said a graft-fighting agency should have access to the declaration of assets by those holding public office, adding that this was because it had “the authority and expertise to investigate if the declaration warranted any”.
On Friday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said ministers, their deputies and political secretaries would be required to declare their assets to him. The information, he said, would be passed on to the relevant agencies.
On why the asset declaration would not be made public, the Pakatan Harapan chairman said the matter would be studied.
Akhbar said his organisation would study the government’s asset declaration policy.
“It is important to have those who are serving the people be transparent about their assets before suspicions are raised.”
He said the declaration of assets by cabinet ministers was a practice in the past, but nothing was shared with the public.
“The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission may have been privy to the declarations given to the then prime minister, but nobody knows if the commission had seen them.”
Akhbar said an open asset declaration system involving office holders would help improve Malaysia’s ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index.
This, he said, would attract foreign investors who were keen on seeking opportunities in a country without a serious graft problem. – NST