Putrajaya urged to emulate S’gor on asset declaration

cynthia

KUALA LUMPUR: The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 ) has called on the Federal Government to match Selangor’s integrity in governance. “It should adopt a public declaration of assets policy,” said C4 Center Founding Director Cynthia Gabriel in a statement.

Such a policy would allow for greater transparency and accountability, she added. “It would put a stop to the high level corruption in the country.”

A public declaration of assets policy is a major criteria for Malaysia to be included in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) group of countries.

Gabriel was welcoming Selangor Assembly Speaker Hannah Yeoh’s proposal that Selangor lawmakers declare their assets and financial interests.

Asset declaration in Selangor was only compulsory for executive council members. Selangor wants its Rights and Privileges Committee to exercise oversight on the assets and financial interests of all lawmakers in the state.

“It’s a formidable push by the Selangor Government towards greater transparency and accountability,” agreed Gabriel.

She reiterated that other states and the Federal Government should emulate the Selangor Government.

At present, she lamented, federal level asset declarations were akin to “secret society” operations. “Cabinet members privately disclose their information to the Prime Minister,” she pointed out. “Declarations kept behind closed doors, defeat the very purpose of such an exercise.”

Secret declarations prevent other members of the government and the public from scrutinising how taxpayers money was managed, she continued. “They don’t assist in pointing out discrepancies.”

Had there been no secret declarations, stressed Gabriel, the global mega financial scandals would not have taken place in the country.

“RM2.6 billion went into the private bank accounts of the Prime Minister.”

“There were assets purchased secretly by family members of those in power.”

All these have taken the world by storm, reminded the C4 Chief. “Security was often used as the primary blocker on public asset declaration.”