Report: Lawmakers yet to declare assets in for massive fine

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof confirmed the plans for a higher fine, adding that the committee is in the midst of finalising the quantum. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof confirmed the plans for a higher fine, adding that the committee is in the midst of finalising the quantum. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — Lawmakers who have yet to declare their assets to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker could face a higher fine for not doing so, reports The Star.

This, the report said, comes after the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders Committee decided to revise the fine from the current RM1,000 to a higher quantum.

Some sources have said this could involve a 100-fold increase to a whopping RM100,000.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof confirmed the plans for a higher fine, adding that the committee is in the midst of finalising the quantum.

“No amount has been determined yet. The committee will do more studies on the matter and it (quantum) will be fixed after that,” Mohamad Ariff was quoted as saying by The Star.

At present, MPs who are in contempt of Dewan Rakyat can also be ejected or suspended from the House for up to six months.

The report also said that the study will weigh other forms of sanctions for lawmakers who go against the Standing Orders of Dewan Rakyat.

An unnamed source was quoted as saying that the current fine of RM1,000 is seen as a “joke” among lawmakers owing to its paltry sum.

 “The intention of increasing the fine is to bring dignity back to Parliament.

“It is now a joke as respect is not there,” the source added.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said only 160 out of the 222 lawmakers had declared their assets when the deadline ended on December 5 last year.

This included all 139 Pakatan Harapan MPs. However, a check of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) website showed that only 135 lawmakers had declared their assets.

The website also revealed that only 15 Opposition lawmakers had declared their assets.

 This means that 68 have yet to abide by the request at time of writing. Many have refused to do so on the grounds that there is no specific law compelling them to make such a declaration.

On July 1 last year, the Dewan Rakyat passed a motion compelling all MPs to declare their property, including that of their spouses, children below the age of 21 and nominees within three months by November 1, 2019.

However, the deadline was extended to December 5 last year, with Liew saying there would be no more extensions given unless the lawmakers requested for additional time to provide the information.

The declarations, made under the Statutory Declarations Act 1960, are to be submitted to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker with copies given to the MACC and made public on its online portal.

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