REPORTS BY MARTIN CARVALHO, HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM, RAHIMY RAHIM AND TARRENCE TAN
MEMBERS of Parliament must now declare their assets to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s office by Oct 1 or face the music.
The motion on the matter was approved via a voice vote with no dissenting voice coming from the Opposition bloc.
Those who fail to do so will be referred to the Parliament’s Rights and Privileges Committee under Standing Order 80.
Those who provide false information will be subjected to criminal proceedings under Section 3, Act 783 (Statutory Declaration) and Section 193 of the Penal Code, which carries a jail term not exceeding three years or a fine.
Despite the requirement, Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan (PAS-Kota Baru) said he would be the first not to declare his income.
He questioned the legality of the motion, saying there was no force of law.
The declaration must include the assets and income of the lawmakers, their spouses, children below 21 and trustees.
The copy of the Statutory Declaration of assets will be sent to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to be displayed on its public website for a period of three months.
According to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong, the motion was based on the principle of accountability and transparency.
Liew said he met with Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof last week, who was satisfied that the motion fulfilled the requirements of the Standing Order.
“The motion is the first step for the government before drafting a new law of such nature,” he said in his winding-up speech.
Liew hoped the new Bill would be tabled in the next Parliament session.
He revealed that there were about 10 government MPs who had yet to declare their assets.
They include newly sworn-in Sandakan MP Vivian Wong and some who had crossed over from Barisan Nasional and did not have time to submit their declaration.
To a question raised by Takiyuddin on whether action would be taken against government lawmakers and members of the administration who had assets and income beyond their means, Liew said: “The MACC is only the custodian of the information. It will not carry out any investigations unless there is a formal report.”
Opposition MPs had also asked why an actual Bill was not tabled to compel them to declare their assets.
Some felt that while the government had good intentions for greater transparency in eradicating corruption, asset declaration should be done by way of having a law.
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