Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his exco today declared their assets to the public. The details are provided below.

Guan Eng’s FD’s rose by RM54000 since 2008. He also invested a bit more in a couple of mutual funds. His income is derived from exco salaries, exco allowances, Adun allowances, MP allowances, and director’s fees (PBA and PDC).

These disclosures are a step in the right direction but a few questions/proposals for improvement inevitably come to mind:

  • The obvious question is, why did it take nearly four years to disclose such simple statements? (It is obvious that one or two of the exco members are fairly wealthy and that could explain the earlier reluctance to disclose their assets.)
  • Of course, for the disclosures to be complete, spouses and other immediately family members need to also disclose their assets.
  • Cash in ordinary bank accounts (apart from FDs) should also be included, along with other liabilities. And a few exco members have not disclosed the amount in their FD’s as at 8 March 2008.
  • In the case of inherited property, some basic information should be disclosed e.g. type of property (e.g. double storey semi-d house), residential area and town OR acreage and location (in the case of agricultural land) to identify them for comparison over time and to distinguish them from other properties the politician might later acquire.
  • An independent audit firm should audit such disclosures.

I hope BN leaders at the federal and state levels and leaders of other Pakatan state governments will be inspired by this move to disclose their own and their immediately families’ assets. Well, we can dream (till the cows come home!), can’t we…

No, no, no, we should insist on such disclosures when they come around to canvas our votes in the next general election. No asset disclosure, no vote for you.

Guan Eng also spoke about the need to end the mix of politics and business.

A timely call. Taking this a step further, I think there should also be maximum transparency of corporate donations (in any form) to political parties.

You can download the .pdf file of the asset disclosures of the CM and his exco members.