Source: The Malaysian Insider
A former finance minister has repeated his call for every minister, current and former, to declare their assets, if the government was serious in fighting graft and fixing the economy.
“The government should take the bull by its horns and go after those who are corrupt. There are no two ways about it. Make every minister and ex-minister declare their assets.
“(Let everyone) see what we have and don’t have and let the public decide,” said Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah at press conference in his residence.
He pointed out that eradicating corruption will help fix the economy and help the people cope with the rising cost of living.
“Corruption is the biggest problem we face. If we get rid of it, most of our problems can be resolved,” he said.
This is not the first time that Tengku Razaleigh has called for a declaration of assets by ministers.
In 2010, the Gua Musang MP had thrown his weight behind a proposal by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for ministers to declare their assets publicly, describing it as one of “the best statements” by the commission.
Then MACC chief commissioner Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamad had said declaration of assets was vital not only for the cabinet but the judiciary as well.
In his blog then, Tengku Razaleigh had pointed out the lavish lifestyles of some cabinet members had set the public questioning their sources of income.
He noted that corruption had become institutionalised in the political system to the extent that Malaysians from all walks of life would not believe their leaders were free of bribery.
“They know that corruption is so widespread that it has become a ‘normal’ practice, keeping their incomes low and stunting their children’s future,” he wrote.
Currently, only Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his executive councilors declare their assets annually.
Tengku Razaleigh expressed worry over the country’s current “dire” economic state, which he warned is in a “very uncomfortable situation” due to a downgrade of Malaysia’s credit rating by global ratings agency Fitch Ratings and the country’s high deficit.
“The government should take note. If they don’t pull the brake, they might find the carpet pulled from under us someday and it can be very alarming and dangerous.
“If we are not careful, we will be in serious trouble,” he said.
He said while the recent fuel price hike was commendable and long overdue, it has affected the people who are already struggling with large household debts.
“A lot of money is wasted and we are bearing the cost because everything is inflated. The costs of projects are too expensive and are passed on to consumers,” he said. – September 6, 2013.