The Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) urged Malaysia to adopt Indonesia’s asset declaration framework, said its executive director Cynthia Gabriel.
The issue of asset declaration became a hot topic when the Barisan Nasional launched a massive campaign to force the Democratic Action Party to adopt an integrity framework.
The framework is a pledge by state leaders that they will not be involved in corrupt practices.
However, the Penang DAP leaders said it was better to declare assets than making a pledge about corruption, thus pulling the BN detractors in a public squabble over who is more corrupt.
The opposition indeed cited the lingering issues with the 1MDB scandal, but the BN leaders refused to go down that road since they did not want to make their assets public.
Currently, under current Malaysian law, ministers and top government officials declare their assets only to the Prime Minister, on a yearly basis.
Members of the Parliament are not required to declare their assets.
Gabriel thus said elected representatives must declare their assets to the public, a civil society coalition has proposed, and Indonesia has a framework that can be adopted in Malaysia.
This suggestion is part of GIAT’s (Governance, Integrity, Accountability and Transparency) five-point Good Governance agenda for Malaysia, which was announced here today.
“We need a standard. The Bar Council is helping us draft this so that people can go to every political party and get them to endorse it.
“Then if they win, when they win, this is what they will adopt in the coming five years,” said Cynthia Gabriel.
She said that Indonesia’s asset declaration legal framework was the most relevant to the Malaysian context.
“There, public officials are required to submit a wealth report within two months of taking office, being transferred, or promoted.
“There’s nothing wrong with being rich as long you are rich in a legitimate way,” she said.
The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism also applauded and welcomed the Selangor state legislative assembly speaker Hannah Yeoh’s proposal to require all Selangor state assemblypersons to declare their assets and financial interests.
To date, asset declaration within the state of Selangor is only compulsory to its executive council members. Other state level public officials are not included in the policy, although voluntary declarations are encouraged.