Govt: No gifts save for flowers and food

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 09 Jun 2018

PUTRAJAYA: Imposing a no-gift policy and investigating dubious contracts are the latest directives from the Government.

While the no-gift policy for civil servants are already in place in most ministries and agencies, this ruling will soon cover ministers, deputy ministers and political secretaries as well as the Prime Minister himself.

“If there are gifts, they should only be limited to flowers, food and fruits. Anything else such as cars cannot be given or accepted. The giver and receiver will be in the wrong,” said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The Pakatan Harapan government will also get its ministers to declare their assets, limit the number of posts which senior civil servants can hold in government-linked companies and to introduce a law to curb money politics.

These are among the decisions when the Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption, chaired by the Prime Minister, convened its first meeting yesterday.

“We want actions that are effective to curb corruption and leaks so that these issues will not affect the administration of this government,” he told reporters yesterday.

He said 21 pledges in Pakatan’s election manifesto which were related to governance, integrity, anti-corruption and human rights must be implemented as soon as possible.

On declaration of assets, Dr Mahathir said that apart from submitting the report to him, ministers would also have to present the same report to the anti-graft authority so that there would be no allegations of him trying to cover up should there be any wrongdoing committed by the ministers.

The Prime Minister announced that a Political Funding Act is in the pipeline to curb money politics but did not elaborate further.

The previous administration had set up the National Consultative Co­m­mittee on Political Financing and had come up with 32 recommendations to address the lack of laws on transparent political funding.

Recommendations included creation of the office of controller of political donations, and a ban on cash donations from foreign sources.

However the tabling of the proposed Political Donations and Expenditure Act was put off for the time being as it needed more study.

Dr Mahathir said there was abuse and misappropriation in the administration which the Pakatan government viewed seriously and would take action against wrongdoers.

He cited a case where a company was given a project to supply electricity to schools with an allocation of RM1bil but it was discovered that the company had collected payment from the government without doing any work on the ground.

“We will take action in such cases. The Government will also have a policy to limit the number of posts in GLC which an officer can hold.

“There are some which holds dozens of posts in different GLCs and this must stop to prevent abuse in awarding contracts,” he added.

To ensure civil servants are careful when spending the people’s money, a law which allows punitive action be taken against officers who purposely cause leaks and wastage will be drawn up.

“We have asked each ministry to raise three issues or policy and regulation-related weaknesses that needs to be reviewed so that we can further curb incidents of corruption and abuse,” Dr Mahathir said.

He said the new Gover­nance, Integrity and Anti-Corrup­tion Cen­tre (GIACC) led by former top anti-graft buster Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mo­h­amed will report directly to him. He assured the public that the Ma­­laysian Anti-Corruption Commis­sion will continue to function independently.

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