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Coverage by: MalaysiaKini
The Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4) called on all parties to mandate asset declarations for their candidates ahead of the six state elections.
The watchdog emphasised that asset declaration enhances open government policies by increasing transparency of those in power’s financial positions.
It also asserted that this empowers the public to scrutinise candidates for any signs of misconduct or corruption.
“We call upon all political parties and coalitions to require all candidates they nominate to declare their assets, movable or immovable, publicly.
“This may be done by making the declarations available on online platforms, and by submitting copies to the speakers of their respective state legislative assemblies, and (the declarations) must be accessible for the public,” C4 said in a statement today.
The watchdog cited Article 8(5) of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which Malaysia ratified.
The article stipulates that state parties should implement measures for public officials to declare their outside activities, employment, investments, assets, and potential conflicts of interest.
In the 15th general election last year, several parliamentary candidates from parties such as PKR, Muda and PSM declared their assets before polling day.
This included the now-Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim who declared a net asset of RM11.18 million while contesting for Tambun.
However, at that time, PAS’ top leaders opposed publishing their assets, with its president Abdul Hadi Awang dismissing the motion as a mere “showing off”.
Meanwhile, C4 commended Kedah BN and Pakatan Harapan for including in their manifestos a commitment that the menteri besar, state executive council members, and assemblypersons will declare their assets if their alliance emerges victorious.
Subsequently, it called on other parties and coalitions to adopt a similar pledge.
“Over the coming weeks, C4 shall also schedule meetings with each party and coalition to get their firm commitment to this matter.
“It is our genuine hope that this call to action shall be taken up by all candidates, in the best interests of their states and the electorate to which they are beholden, to show their commitment to combating corruption within our society,” the NGO explained.