Media Release: C4 Met with GIACC with asset declaration proposals

GOVERNMENT SERIOUS ABOUT ASSET DECLARATION,
AS C4 CENTER PRESENTS GIACC WITH PROPOSALS

PRESS STATEMENT 25 June 2018

PETALING JAYA (Monday): C4 Center today met with Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed, Director-General of the newly-formed National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption (GIACC), and senior Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officials to discuss the upcoming asset declaration law for politicians and senior officials which will be tabled before the first parliamentary sitting in mid-July.

C4 Center has authored a Public Asset Declaration Framework (PADF) with the assistance of the constitutional committee of the Bar Council prior to the 14th General Elections. With the PADF, C4 Center and allied good governance civil society groups have been lobbying political parties to eventually institutionalise a robust asset declaration law in Malaysia.

The PADF outlines principles of best practice as well as a sample declaration form which is more comprehensive than how politicians have hitherto declared their assets. It also notes that the current asset declaration practice in the civil service is not sufficient, neither in depth nor width, and not exposed to public scrutiny. A new asset declaration system in Malaysia needs to be:

  • PUBLIC: the forms need accessible to members of the public and made machine-readable;
  • COMPREHENSIVE: it must cover both movable and immovable assets, business interests and gifts;
  • WIDE COVERAGE: it must apply to all members of parliament, state EXCO members and senior officers of a public body, as well as their immediate family members, inclusive of spouses;
  • TIMELY: performed immediately upon appointment and annually thereafter, and;
  • MANDATORY: it must be enshrined as a federal law, compelling politically exposed persons to declare their assets to maintain stewardship of public office;

In the spirit of reform and democracy, C4 Center would like to thank GIACC for their openness to civil society involvement and engagement, and for hearing our proposals.

Tan Sri Abu Kassim reassured us that the Prime Minister is extremely serious about asset declaration and GIACC will be meeting him in early July to present proposals for both short-term and long-term measures.

C4 Center is affirmed to hear that GIACC is making progress on asset declaration. However, we hope that the details of an asset declaration draft bill can be strengthened with our proposals in mind, especially the process of making asset declaration statements available publicly.

We must take the strongest stand possible against potential kleptocratic senior leaders in the government, because Malaysians need to prevent another 1MDB—already deemed “kleptocracy at its worst”. Public oversight is the best source of check and balance against kleptocratic tendencies at every level, for whichever government of the day holding power.

We urge all members of the public to call on your leaders to be honest, accountable and transparent in their leadership of their country by supporting the strongest possible asset declaration law that is public, comprehensive, timely and mandatory. C4 Center stands by as a partner in working towards a truly corruption-free Malaysia.

Released by:
Cynthia Gabriel (Ms.)
Executive Director, C4 Center

The Public Asset Declaration Framework can be found here: https://c4center.org/pledge-public-asset-declaration-framework