The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is still waiting for copies of asset declarations by opposition MPs, even though the deadline has lapsed for almost two months.
Oct 1 was the deadline for all MPs to declare their assets, in accordance with parliamentary regulations imposed through a special motion passed by the Dewan Rakyat in July.
According to MACC deputy chief commissioner (prevention) Shamsun Baharin Mohd Jamil, MPs have to declare their assets via statutory declaration to the Dewan Rakyat speaker.
Following that, the speaker will provide a copy of the declarations to the MACC, he said.
However, the anti-graft body has yet to receive any declarations from the speaker, said Shamsun who oversees the matter.
“We will only publish the asset declarations on the portal once we receive all of them,” he said when contacted.
Speaker Ariff Md Yusof did not respond to Malaysiakini’s query on the matter.
BN MPs refuse to declare
On Monday, Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan (BN) said opposition MPs would not declare their assets as there was no law to compel them to do so.
He was responding to Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Rashid Hasnon who noted that many opposition MPs, especially from BN, have yet to submit their asset declarations.
Ahmad Maslan’s statement defies the motion tabled by de facto law minister VK Liew in July.
According to the motion, MPs must complete a personal asset declaration, additional asset declarations and disposal of assets declaration which comes under the Statutory Declaration Act 1960.
Those failing to do so by Oct 1 could be held in contempt of parliamentary regulations and face the Parliamentary Rights and Privileges Committee under Meeting Rule 80.
The motion was passed despite much resistance from the opposition bench who, among others, said asset declaration does not come under the Parliamentary Rights and Privileges Committee’s jurisdiction.
Liew said the motion paves the way for a bill to compel MPs to declare their assets. It is unclear if the bill will be tabled at this sitting.
At present, only assets declared by Pakatan Harapan MPs is listed on the website maintained by the MACC.
However, the website notes five Pakatan Harapan MPs have yet to declare their assets.
The latest MP to declare his assets was Teluk Intan MP Nga Kor Ming (DAP), who is also the Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker. He declared assets worth RM7.9 million.
Tourism Minister Mohammadin Ketapi and Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok were the last two cabinet members to declare assets. Both did so in September.
Mohammadin declared assets worth a total RM9,388 (held jointly with his wife), while Kok declared assets of RM2.58 million.
Mohammadin yesterday said the RM9,338 asset jointly declared with his wife is a motorcycle and that he owns no other properties.
He also said their family home belongs to his wife – although neither this, nor his savings, were declared on the MACC website.
MACC’s Shamsun Bahrin confirmed with Malaysiakini that savings must also be declared.
Public asset declaration is one of the reforms brought about by the Pakatan Harapan government in a bid to curb corruption among elected representatives and the executive.
Before this, cabinet members only declared their assets to the MACC, who in turn shared the information with the prime minister.
In the BN era, ministers deflected from publicly declaring their assets citing security reasons such as fearing that their children would be kidnapped.
On Monday, Ahmad Maslan said opposition MPs will only declare their assets if relevant amendments were made to laws related to the MACC or the Inland Revenue Board.
Speaking to the New Straits Times, he claimed Harapan MPs, too, had complained that the asset declaration exercise had undermined their safety.
“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,” he had said.
Umno’s Kinabatangan MP Bung Mokhtar Radin told Malaysiakini compelling MPs to declare their assets is an invasion of privacy and superfluous as the MPs have already declared their incomes to the Inland Revenue Board.
PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said PAS MPs will not comply because they have already declared their assets to the party president.
GPS secretary-general Alexander Nanta Linggi, meanwhile, said the party does not have a directive on the matter and MPs can unilaterally decide to submit their asset declarations to the Speaker. – Malaysiakini