Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s comments that Penang state exco members would be asked to declare their assets as soon as possible is reassuring. It shows that the state government is still thinking about it – more than one year after the general election.
Guan Eng says that he is now mulling over the best method of doing so.
It’s all quite simple, really. Just get them to list their assets (as well as their immediate family’s) on a sheet of paper and to declare that the list is a true and fair representation of their net worth. Get these declarations audited by an independent firm.
No need to reveal bank account numbers to the public; just the amounts held in those accounts. After all, companies do not reveal their bank account numbers in their audited accounts, which can be accessed by the public. Instead, they just show “bank” and “cash in hand” in their balance sheets.
People are not interested in the bank account numbers of their leaders or in complicated asset disclosures; they are more concerned about their leaders’ net worth – at the start of their term of office and then at periodic intervals. That way, they can monitor if their leaders are abusing their positions for financial benefit.
The Selangor asset declarations were unsatisfactory as they were more like declarations of income rather than of assets or net worth.
If the Indonesian presidential and vice-presidential candidates can disclose their wealth (running into the millions of US dollars), there is no reason our politicians have to be so coy about their assets – unless of course it contradicts their projected “politician of the people” or “simple lifestyle” image.
This is the Indonesian asset disclosure of presidential and vice presidential candidates:
Jusuf Kalla US$29.07 million
Wiranto US$7.85 million
Megawati Sukarnoputri US$14.15 million
Prabowo Subianto US$159.6 million
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono US$920,500
Boediono US$2.14 million
Will we really get to see how much Malaysian political leaders have in assets? Or will the disclosures merely scratch the surface of their real net worth?