Coverage by: NST
KUALA LUMPUR: The Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) wants all parties and coalitions to proclaim their commitment to asset disclosure by political candidates, both prior to election day and in their legislative agendas.
The anti-graft watchdog said all political parties should emulate the move by Kedah Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan in their manifesto pledge that biennial asset declaration requirements to be imposed upon the Menteri Besar, State executive councillors and assembly persons, should the alliance emerge victorious.
“We call upon all political parties or coalitions to require all candidates they nominate to declare their assets, movable or immovable, in a public manner. This may be done by making the declarations available on online platforms, and to submit copies to the Office of the Speaker of their respective State Legislative Assemblies, and must be accessible by the public,” it said in a statement.
C4 added that although Malaysia still did not have any statutory requirement for mandatory asset declaration by elected officials, it should not be an excuse for political aspirants to not comply with the spirit of the United Nations Convention against Corruption on asset declaration.
It said that Malaysia ratified the convention in 2008 and is thereby bound by the anti-corruption instrument which states that State Parties shall endeavour “to establish measures and systems requiring public officials to make declarations to appropriate authorities” regarding their investments, assets and substantial gifts or benefits from which a conflict of interest may arise.
“Asset declaration is an important element of open government policies, as it allows for increased transparency of the financial positions of those in power.
“However, an important consideration is the extent to which candidates are truly honest when making such declarations. Previously, asset declarations have been made by elected officials and electoral candidates which have not included sufficient details or which have doubtful veracity.
“Therefore, when making these declarations, C4 reminds candidates of the oath they must take upon election as members of the State Legislative Assemblies: To bear true faith and allegiance to their State and the Federation,” it said, adding that the candidate’s personal interests must never be allowed to conflict with or supersede their functions as public officials.
C4 said that over the coming weeks, it would also schedule meetings with each and every party or coalition in order to get their firm commitment to this matter and combating corruption within the society.