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Election Watch

Ministers must declare assets

Source: The Sun
Date: 2 December 2011

SUBANG: Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam has called on Cabinet members to declare their assets in helping the country's efforts to eliminate money politics.

The former chairman and member of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel, said the public was in slumber over corrupt practices.

"We have talked about wake-up calls. The alarm has been ringing for a long time but the people don't seem to wake up. So it is time to shake them up, otherwise we are going to carry on.

"This is the problem and that is you have money politics, especially during general elections and even party general assemblies. They (politicians) are all involved in money politics," Navaratnam told reporters yesterday.

He conceded MACC cannot capture the 'big fishes' for corruption if the government does not have the political will.

"When the top is rotten through money politics, you can't expect MACC to do much. They (MACC) could do it within their own constraints.

"How can you go catch every minister and every lawmaker? There will be too many to catch. You have to break the entire political system because this is encouraged," he said.

Navaratnam said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak must make a stand and sack any minister guilty of corruption.

"I urge cabinet and political leaders to declare their assets. That is where it starts.

"You expect the MACC to go after people and catch the small fish. They can't get the top guy even if they are corrupt. How do you go for them?

"But if they declare their assets and the prime minister and Cabinet says: 'I don't care what you did before but from tomorrow you will be sacked if you are found corrupt', can you imagine the impact on the ground?” he said.

MACC chief commissioner Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamed and former Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah called on the Cabinet to declare their assets but their pleas were rejected by the government.

Cabinet members currently only have to declare their assets to the prime minister annually but the declarations are not made public.

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