Govt’s integrity watchman says no plan yet to compel MPs, hopefuls to declare assets

Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed speaks during a conference on financial crime in Kuala Lumpur October 30, 2018. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed speaks during a conference on financial crime in Kuala Lumpur October 30, 2018. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 ― The government has yet to discuss a proposal to make asset declaration mandatory for all MPs or election candidates, Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed said today.

Instead, the head of the National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) he once led will be focused on monitoring irregular “asset and property expansion” by MPs in the ruling coalition as advised by Bank Negara Malaysia.

“BNM advised us [that] what's more important is the expansion of property or asset during the tenure of [the current] Members of Parliament and politicians,” he told reporters after opening a conference on financial crime here.

“That is more important rather than what they have because they come in as politician, maybe before that they have business.

“What is most important is to monitor the expansion of their properties when they are in power,” he added.

Pakatan Harapan was elected into power on the back of mounting public demand for institutional reform and clean governance.

The coalition promised to make the fight against corruption a key agenda, so reticent against making asset declaration mandatory will likely prompt accusations that it remains protective of some corrupt government leaders.

Abu Kassim said he personally supports the proposal, but noted that it is up to legislators to make it a law.

“It is up to them (MPs) to bring it to Parliament and make a policy decision on that,” he said.

“But if you ask me personally, yes (I support the idea)”.

The newly-elected Pakatan Harapan government, however, has made it mandatory for its lawmakers to declare assets to the MACC, although the policy has yet to be fully implemented.

But two weeks ago the agency said on its website that publication of asset declarations by Cabinet ministers and MPs which was initially scheduled for today has been postponed again and will likely be published on November 1 instead.

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