PUTRAJAYA: All Malaysian Members of Parliament – including those in the opposition – will be required to declare their assets, as part of measures outlined in the National Anti-Corruption Plan.
Speaking to the media after chairing a Cabinet select committee meeting on anti-corruption on Tuesday (May 14), Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said that opposition MPs have to declare their assets in exchange for their “power” to criticise the government.
“So, for the ‘fee’, they must declare their assets,” he said, adding that the proposal would first have to be approved by the speaker of parliament.
In line with its election manifesto to fight corruption, Pakatan Harapan has asked its ministers, deputy ministers, MPs and political secretaries to declare their net worth to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) .
READ: Anti-graft campaign reason for government’s low popularity among civil servants, says Mahathir
Their public declaration can be viewed on https://mydeclaration.sprm.gov.my/.
The declaration is not legally binding. For now, opposition MPs do not need to declare their assets.
VALUE OF GIFTS TO BE CAPPED AT RM500
On Tuesday, Dr Mahathir said other proposals included capping the value of gifts at RM500 (US$119).
"Now (with this new rule), you cannot accept a lot of gifts. When I was the prime minister (previously), I received 26 cars, so I returned them. If you want to see, go to (Galeri Perdana) Langkawi," he said with a laugh.
The government has also proposed enhancing transparency in public procurement and for ministers to chair meetings on governance, integrity and anti-corruption at least twice a year.
Ensuring asset declaration by ministry officials would also be made a key performance indicator for the the ministers, Dr Mahathir added.
Dr Mahathir said the Cabinet select committee meeting would be held monthly as the government feels that corruption is a crime that could hinder national development.
“Everyone plays a role in preventing corruption, and must know what they can do to prevent it because we have meetings to check the reports of the progress that has been made,” he said.
Malaysia climbed one spot in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2018, clinching the 61st spot among 180 countries and territories.
Within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, it is among the top three after Singapore and Brunei.
Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak is currently facing trial over the high-profile corruption scandal involving sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, among other charges..