KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should hold a special meeting with lawmakers to discuss procedures behind the declaration of assets, says Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed.
Abu Kassim, the National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption (GIACC) director-general, said that he would be meeting with the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat to discuss the matter.
“I may have some discussion with Speaker on this. I may recommend the MACC have a special briefing on the procedures and justification of asset declaration to all lawmakers.
“So they can raise concerns and have a Question-and-Answer session in a closed-door discussion rather than in the open,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby on Tuesday (July 2).
The special motion to compel all lawmakers to declare their assets was passed in Parliament on Monday (July 1).
According to the motion, those who fail to declare their assets would be hauled to the Parliament's Select Committee on Rights and Privileges.
MPs who make false declarations will however be subject to prosecution 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.
Abu Kassim said asset declaration was part of the process to allow more transparency among parliamentarians.
He said that the country had ratified the United Nation Convention against Corruption, which recommends parliamentarians declare their assets.
“This is one of the processes for politicians to be more accountable and transparent,” he added.
Asked to comment on Pakatan Harapan lawmakers who have yet to declare their assets, Abu Kassim said he was informed that some of them had just joined the government while one had just been sworn in.
“So, it will take some time,” he said.
Asked to comment on Opposition MPs’ remarks that the declaration was a ploy to get at their personal wealth, Abu Kassim said, “At the moment, the MACC is only the custodian of the report.
“I was informed and told that MACC was in the midst of drafting a law about it, and how to make it more effective.
“We have to wait for MACC's proposal,” he said.
Pressed to comment on reports that Opposition MPs refused to declare their assets, he said, “It has been agreed by the House, so it is not an issue.”