Integrity chief Abu Kassim tells MACC to hold private briefing for MPs on asset declaration

GIACC director-general Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed speaks to reporters at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 2, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
GIACC director-general Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed speaks to reporters at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 2, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 — The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) should privately brief MPs on what the government’s proposed asset declaration entails, Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed suggested today.

The director-general of the National Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Centre (GIACC) said he will raise the issue with Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Seri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof.

“I may have some discussion with Speaker on this. I may recommend the MACC have a special briefing on the procedures and justification of asset declaration with all lawmakers.

“So they can raise concerns and have a Question-and-Answer session in a closed-door discussion rather than in the open,” he told reporters in Parliament.

Yesterday, the lower House of Parliament approved a motion making it compulsory for all federal lawmakers to declare their assets to the MACC.

Failure to comply will result in the respective MP being disciplined by the Parliament’s Select Committee on Rights and Privileges.

Those making false declarations will face prosecution under Section 3, Act 783 (Statutory Declaration) and Section 193 of the Penal Code, which carries a jail term not exceeding three years or a fine.

Abu Kassim further clarified that the declaration is part of the process to increase transparency among politicians.

He added that Malaysia had already ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, which recommends MPs declare their assets to ensure transparency and accountability.

However, when asked regarding some government MPs who have not declared their assets, Abu Kassim said it could be because some lawmakers had only recently switched their political allegiances to Pakatan Harapan, adding that one was only just sworn in.

He added such MPs need some time to declare their assets.

Abu Kassim also said the MACC is only a custodian of the report, in response to allegations by Opposition MPs that the government is using the anti-graft body to “fish” for their personal wealth.

“At the moment, the MACC is only the custodian of the report. I was informed and told that the MACC was in the midst of drafting a law about it, and how to make it more effective. We have to wait for the MACC’s proposal,” he said.

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