Posted: 30 Dec 2012 10:10 AM PST
S'gor cabinet's asset declaration 'laughable'
It was seen as a bold step by the Selangor government in declaring assets of its menteri besar and ten exco members. Instead, the move received brickbats with claims that details revealed are superficial and defeat the purpose of monitoring the integrity of public officials.
Contacted by malaysiakini, DAP vice-chairperson Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim (right) described the declaration as 'laughable' and 'farcical'. He said it showed that the state government was not serious about declaring their assets.
"We are not told anything about the mechanism that were involved," said the former founding president of Transparency International Malaysia.
"If the whole idea of declaring one's assets is to show transparency and accountability, it has to be done in a way that leaves no doubt in the people's mind."
"And if this is all the Selangor government is capable of doing, then it is no different from the government they replaced," he said, describing the move as 'short-changing' the people.
Asset declaration not detailed
The revelation of assets by the Selangor state government on its official website is limited to transactions from March 24, 2008, when the state assemblypersons took office until at present.
Apart from their official income and liabilities, no other information, for example bank savings, interest in private companies or shares is revealed.
Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim explained that the state is unable to provide security to the excos and their family. There is also no insurance policy to this effect.
This drew flak from former BN Selangor exco Tang See Hang, who described the move a political gimmick by Pakatan Rakyat.
"The information should be more detailed. Why are they holding back? They should reveal everything if they are to declare their assets," Tang told malaysiakini when contacted.
Info too simple
Political observer Tang Ah Chai shared a smilar concern.
"The information declared is too simple. It is even simpler than that in the income tax form. At least the income tax form requires the individual to detail their income both from local and overseas, shares and positions in companies. Here, even the number of private cars owned by them is not disclosed.
"This is no less insulting the people's intelligence. The declaration is unacceptable," said Ah Chai.
He added if the Selangor government continued doing the same with future declarations, it would be considered nothing more than a 'political show'.
Ah Chai said the declaration of assets should fulfill two basic criteria.
One, to complete a declaration report which details the total value of personal assets, and the other, to have a tracking system in place to keep tabs on assets amassed.
According to him, the two criteria would enable the public to compare the unusual increase in wealth among the public officials'. This could help haul up officials concerned for questioning.
Security no excuse
Ah Chai dismissed the argument that revealing personal assets of public officials would jeopardise their security.
"Corporate leaders are known to receive high remunerations. Does this mean the corporate world should sacrifice transparency using security as an excuse?"
"The issue of safety should be no excuse. The problem here concerns the country's security. If the nation is not safe, then the top 10 millionaires in Malaysia would be facing the same risk," he added.
Details not made public
While the assets declaration by the Selangor state government was deemed to be insufficient, it however is believed that the exco members had in fact submitted a detailed report but it was not made public.
Khalid, in his state assembly meeting last May, claimed that he and his exco had declared their assets on Mac 8, 2008, using the federal government's Member of Parliament Asset Declaration Form.
He said the forms were handed over to accounting firm Ernst & Young for auditing before being made public.
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