Lim: Having BN state reps declare assets a ‘legal challenge’

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GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government views any move to compel all state assembly members to declare their assets as a legal “challenge” and will therefore observe how Selangor goes about doing it first.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said Penang has no legal provisions to impose such a requirement on all its 40 state representatives although those from the ruling Pakatan Harapan have already disclosed information on their assets to the public.

“We have to study the legal requirements. Let Selangor do it. We view it as a challenge,” he said when asked about a proposal made last week by Selangor state speaker Hannah Yeoh for all state assembly members there to declare their assets.

Lim said the state had previously asked the 10 opposition members, who are all Umno members representing Barisan Nasional (BN), to follow suit but they have not complied.

The state, therefore, presently viewed the matter as a voluntary declaration of assets, he added.

“We have asked the state Opposition to do so but they have refused,” Lim said after officiating the opening of the 4th International Malaysian Spine Society Scientific Congress at G Hotel here.

“All 30 of our state assembly reps declared their assets, but not the Opposition. I don’t know why,” he added, stressing that Penang was the first state where elected representatives made known their assets.

All assembly reps in Penang’s Pakatan Rakyat coalition, the forerunner of Pakatan Harapan, declared their assets before the general election in 2013 while the state executive councillors started doing so on an annual basis in 2012.

On another matter, Lim said the Malaysian media should ask if those implicated in the mishandling of funds related to sovereign wealth fund 1MDB should be stripped of their titles.

He said this when asked by a reporter if Penang would consider stripping the title given to Malaysian Pua Khein-Sing, the inventor of the pen drive, whose company in Taiwan where he currently resides is being investigated.

Phison Electronics Corp’s office was searched by Taiwan investigators on August 5 over alleged violations of the Securities Exchange Act there. Pua, who is Phison CEO, is one of the company’s founders.

Pua was conferred the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri (DSPN) award which carries the title Datuk by Penang in July 2012.

“If that is the case, there are a lot of Tan Sris and Datuks who will be affected, including Tan Sri Larry Low, father of Jho Low,” Lim replied when asked about possible action on Pua by the Penang government.

He pointed to reports citing a legal suit filed by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) that alleged that bank accounts owned by Larry and others were used to channel money from 1MDB that were spent by Jho Low to purchase assets.

“If you apply your standard, Larry Low should have his Tan Sri withdrawn,” Lim said.

“Pua did not steal a single sen of Malaysian money,” he added, stressing that the investigation on Phison was a Taiwanese matter.