Move compelling asset declaration “wise” — Sarawak Patriots Association

Datuk John Lau Pang Heng

KUCHING, July 3: Sarawak Patriots Association (SPA) congratulates the federal government for the motion compelling all Members of Parliament (MPs) to declare their assets. It was passed in Parliament on Monday.

SPA chairman Datuk John Lau emphasised that it was a wise move by the government as corruption is a key threat to good governance, the democratic process and fair business competition.

“Fighting corruption and promoting good public governance are among the main priorities of our nation,” he said in a press statement today.

“In addressing corruption and ensure good governance, Malaysia need to adopt a multidisciplinary approach, which includes fighting bribery among public officials, combating corruption through fiscal policy, public and private sector governance as well as development aid and export credits.”

Lau also observed that non-Pakatan Harapan (PH) MPs had expressed concerns on its implementation as there was no force of law during the debate of the motion.

The opposition MPs had also asked why an actual Bill was not tabled to compel them to declare their assets as it should be done by way of having a law.

“However, when the Speaker called for a voice vote, I see that there was no opposing voice. This showed the maturity of the MPs from both sides of the political divide.

“We can see that Parliament is going through a process of transformation and renewal. For this, SPA must congratulate the government of the day,” he said.

However, Lau pointed out that it was better to enact a new law to compel not only MPs to declare their assets and income but also all heads of government departments and government-linked corporations (GLCs).

“This move will be very good for new Malaysia,” he said.

SPA also congratulated the Sarawak government for taking the lead in requesting all Cabinet members and state assemblymen to declare their assets to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in 2015.

“They were asked to take an integrity pledge, which was introduced during late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem administration’s to promote clean and transparent governance,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Dewan Rakyat has last Monday approved the motion via a voice vote with no dissenting voice coming from the opposition bloc.

According to a national daily, all MPs must now declare their assets to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s Office by Oct 1 or face the music.

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.

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.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong, who tabled the motion, said it was based on the principles of accountability and transparency.

The motion, he added, was the first step for the government before drafting a new law of such nature. Liew hoped the bill would be tabled in the next Parliament session.

He also revealed that there were about 10 government MPs who had yet to declare their assets. — DayakDaily