Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism says a law to make asset declaration mandatory can boost the accountability of government officials and elected representatives.
PETALING JAYA: An anti-graft NGO has proposed that the immediate family members of politicians and government officials are also made to declare their assets annually.
In supporting a call by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for an asset declaration law, the Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4) said the move was aimed at boosting accountability of government officials and elected representatives as well as to deter corruption.
“This act will serve to empower our anti-corruption enforcement with legislative backing. They need to properly act against those who have yet to declare their assets or have made false declarations.
“We have witnessed a shocking number of politicians, including a former prime minister, involved in horrifying tales of unexplained wealth, living beyond their means and outrightly abusing their powers in public office for personal gain.
“Ongoing court testimonies of many a political leader have now provided sordid details of blatant theft of public assets and misuse of public monies that have gone on over the years,” the NGO said.
MACC deputy chief commissioner Shamshun Baharin Mohd Jamil said currently no one could be penalised under the law for not declaring their assets.
He said a motion was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat for MPs to declare their assets to the Speaker, with a copy of the asset declaration extended to MACC. He added MACC could not conduct any verification of these documents received.
“Investigations are only conducted on individuals seen leading an extravagant lifestyle beyond their income level under Section 36 of the MACC Act 2009,” Shamshun said.
Meanwhile, C4 said MACC’s website on asset declarations by elected representatives did not provide much information.
“The whole exercise has become laughable, initially showing only cumulative salaries and devoid of the details needed for a full and more complete public scrutiny of the asset disclosures.
“In the lead-up to the next general election, we urge Malaysians to scrutinise the personal wealth of candidates vying to be elected representatives and force them to clearly commit to an asset declaration law,” the group said.