Paying taxes to the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) should not be an excuse for MPs not to declare their assets.
Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Muhammad Mohan said this in reference to Umno and PAS MPs refusal to declare their assets on the grounds that they are paying taxes to the IRB.
He explained that paying taxes only allows the IRB to track one’s income but not assets.
“The excuse by certain political leaders that they have already paid taxes to IRB and therefore do not need to declare the value of their assets is inaccurate.
“This is because what they declare (to the IRB) is from their income and not the value of their assets.
“TI-M would like to advise them that as political leaders, be they from the government or opposition, they should be transparent on this and not give excuses,” he told Malaysiakini when contacted.
He was asked to respond to Jelebu MP Jalaluddin Alias who earlier said Umno and PAS had agreed to take a united position against declaring their assets.
Jalaluddin, who is also an Umno supreme council member, had cited paying taxes to the IRB as a reason.
In July, the Dewan Rakyat approved a motion for all MPs to declare their assets to the House speaker. However, the opposition abstained.
While the motion referred to all lawmakers, it was really aimed at the opposition as government MPs have already declared their assets, details which are published on the MACC website.
The declaration by the government MPs was not compelled by a motion or law, but by government policy instead.
With a formal motion, defiant MPs risk facing action for contempt of Parliament.
However, Jalaluddin is insistent that opposition MPs do not need to declare their assets as they are not in government.
Muhammad said even though the opposition is not part of the government, they are still accountable to the people.
“There have been a few cases where politicians possessed assets that do not commensurate with the salary or allowances that they receive as elected representatives,” he said.
To address the opposition MPs’ defiance, Muhammad also called for a law to compel them.
“We suggest that the government and MACC come up with draft legislation to make it mandatory for politicians to declare the value of their assets,” he said. – Malaysiakini
Earlier report: Oct 25, Umno, PAS Still Refuse to Declare Assets