KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 ― The move to get members of the new Cabinet to declare their assets should be welcomed as a symbol of the transparency of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government which aims to be free of any element of corruption, says political analyst Assoc Prof Datuk Dr Ismail Sualman.

Commenting on Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's directive on March 11 at the first Cabinet meeting of the new government, that all Cabinet members should declare their assets within one month as a sign of the government’s commitment towards combating corruption, Ismail said such a move would make individuals think twice before engaging in any actions which had an element of corruption.

It would also instill the people's confidence in their leaders, and it would be in line with the efforts of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to help establish a clean and responsible government.

At the same time, he said the public should not adopt a negative perception of Cabinet members if such declarations indicate that they have plenty of funds.

“If a Cabinet member was previously a CEO (chief executive officer), then he should be rich and the same can be said for those with businesses. All of this is not a problem,” Ismail told Bernama.

Sharing a similar opinion is Prof Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani who said the impending asset declaration is an indication of the accountability of Cabinet members towards the people and it would be proof that they were truly “clean” leaders.

“The people will see whether Cabinet members are abusing their power for their personal interests and enrichment. The people will get a sense of the importance of asset declaration,” he said, adding that the move would also serve to prevent corruption as “we will be able to determine their earnings throughout their time in the administration”.

Many countries such as Singapore and Australia practised asset declaration as this was an important reflection of leaders’ accountability to the people, explained Mohd Azizuddin who went on to state “if there are any leaders who don't want to declare their assets, it will be better for them to resign”.

He also called for the practice of asset declaration to be extended to all Members of Parliament, as this would be a more effective measure in stamping out corruption.

Meanwhile, Nasrudin Hassan, the former PAS information chief who is now the party’s central Dakwah Bureau chairman, said the declaration of assets was necessary to ensure Cabinet members did not make use of their positions to amass wealth.

He explained that apart from asset declaration, it was also important for leaders to be individuals with integrity.

Nasrudin who urged the public to play their role by reporting corrupt leaders to the authorities, explained that we should avoid a situation in which “the people pay homage to leaders. Instead the people must be ready to be critical of the government if something is not right”. ― Bernama