No harm in declaring your assets, speaker tells MPs again

Dewan Rakyat speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusoff says MPs who failed to declare their assets have committed contempt of the house and will face penalties later.

KUALA LUMPUR: Dewan Rakyat speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusoff has denied claims that there were safety concerns with asset declarations.

He added that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission would only report the broad figures of the MPs’ assets.

“We won’t report all the particulars,” he told reporters after a special dinner with the chairmen of parliamentary special select committees and the media.

De facto law minister Liew Vui Keong said recently that 160 of the 222 MPs had declared their assets to the Dewan Rakyat speaker before the deadline ended at 5pm on Dec 5. He said only 22 out of the 84 opposition MPs have done so.

Some opposition MPs had cited safety and security concerns as reasons for them withholding their asset declarations.

Asked to comment, Ariff said: “There isn’t any (safety concern).

“Can you name even one instance? What’s the harm in declaring your assets? I don’t understand what the problem is.”

The special motion making it mandatory for all MPs to declare their assets was approved on July 1.

“And being a resolution of the house, it is an order of the house. So anyone who defies an order of the house is technically committing contempt of the house. There are penalties attached to it so we wait and see,” Ariff said.

He revealed that only three opposition MPs from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) had requested for a deadline extension, which he had approved.

He also said asset declaration was standard practice in Commonwealth countries.

“It was put in for a purpose — transparency and to weed out corruption.

“MPs hold very important positions in society,” he added.