Errant lawmakers face higher fines


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 15 Feb 2020



PETALING JAYA: Lawmakers who have yet to declare their assets to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker could face a higher fine for not doing so.

This is following plans by the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders Committee to amend and increase the fine from the current RM1,000 to a higher quantum, which some sources say could be a 100-fold increase to a whopping RM100,000.

At present, MPs who are in contempt of Dewan Rakyat can also be ejected or suspended from the House for up to six months, apart from the monetary punishment.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof said the committee is in the midst of studying the quantum.

“No amount has been determined yet. The committee will do more studies on the matter and it (quantum) will be fixed after that, ” Mohamad Ariff told The Star yesterday.

It is understood that the study will not only look into the quantum of the fine but also various aspects, including other punishments should lawmakers go against the Standing Orders.

Although no quantum has been fixed for the proposed increase in the fine, it was learned that it could be as high as RM100,000.

A source said the current fine of RM1,000 is seen as a “joke” to lawmakers owing to its paltry sum.

“The intention of increasing the fine is to bring dignity back to Parliament.

“It is now a joke as respect is not there, ” the source added.

Lawmakers in the Dewan Rakyat were given a deadline on Dec 5 last year to declare their assets.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong then said that only 160 out of the 222 lawmakers had declared their assets despite the December deadline.

This includes all 139 Pakatan Harapan MPs.However, a check in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) website showed that only 135 lawmakers had declared their assets.

The website also revealed that only 15 Opposition lawmakers had declared their assets, with 68 failing to do so.

Opposition lawmakers, who have not declared their assets, have refused to do so on grounds that there is no specific law compelling them to make such a declaration.

On July 1 last year, the Dewan Rakyat passed a motion compelling all MPs to declare their property, including that of their spouses, children below the age of 21 and nominees within three months by Nov 1.

However, the deadline was extended to Dec 5,2019 with Liew saying there would be no more extension given unless the lawmakers requested for additional time to furnish the information.

The declarations, made under the Statutory Declarations Act 1960, are to be submitted to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker with copies given to the MACC and made public on its online portal.

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