Asset declaration motion approved

KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Rakyat today approved the special motion to make it mandatory for all MPs to declare their assets.

The opposition did not object to the motion during the voice vote with only the PH MPs heard saying “Yes”.

Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof said it was a unanimous decision.

The motion will now go to the Senate for debate and if approved, the MPs will be given until Oct 1 to declare their assets.

About 20 MPs from both sides of the divide debated on the motion, which makes it mandatory for the MPs, their spouses and children below the age of 21 and trustees to declare their assets.

Several opposition MPs said it was not right for the government to raise the issue through a motion.

They said the declaration of assets should be included in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 or introduced as a new law.

Azalina Othman Said (BN-Pengerang) asked why the government was afraid of tabling it as a new law, saying Putrajaya was not serious in implementing such a law.

She also said the Dewan Rakyat may not have the power to take action against MPs who did not comply.

Takiyuddin Hassan (PAS-Kota Bharu) said he would not declare his assets as it was not being done the right way. He, too, wanted the asset declaration to be part of a new legislation.

In his winding-up speech, de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong said the government had listened to the views of the MPs who debated on the motion.

He said the motion was based on transparency and accountability on the part of the government.

Liew had tabled the special motion shortly after the Dewan Rakyat reconvened this morning after a break.

It was tabled under Standing Order 27 (3), which requires MPs to declare their assets to MACC within three months from the date of approval. These declarations will then be published on the commission’s website.

Saying the PH MPs had already declared their assets, Liew added that it was time for all MPs to do the same.

The assets in question include their monthly salaries as well as transferable and non-transferable properties located in and outside of the country.

Liew said MPs who made false declarations could be charged under Section 199 of the Penal Code, which allows for offenders including public servants to be handed a maximum jail term of three years and a fine upon conviction.

At the parliament lobby this evening, Liew told reporters that the MPs would be required to declare their assets once every two years.

“Don’t worry, if they have fewer assets, they can inform MACC and the parliament,” he said, adding that an investigation would be carried out only if there was a complaint.