Selangor’s public declaration of assets, minus the assets

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The Selangor exco have made public their respective disclosure of assets.

At first glance, it looks great.

The only problem is that most of these are ‘declarations of assets’ that do not publicly reveal the assets!

What they do reveal are monthly salaries and other allowances of the individuals concerned and their respective spouses as well as their outstanding loans and monthly loan repayments. A few have indicated that “other income” would be diclosed when their EA forms are released.

But no details of their assets are provided among the few that I checked. (The exco members are only required to declare additions and disposals to their assets since assuming office.)

One chartered accountant, when he first heard that the asset disclosures would only show assets acquired from March 2008, sent me a text message: “Sounds like a watered-down version, ha ha.”

The United Nations has a resolution on an International Code of Conduct for Public Officials here:

5. Public officials, to the extent required by their position, shall, in accordance with laws or administrative policies, declare business, commercial and financial interests or activities undertaken for financial gain that may raise a possible conflict of interest. In situations of possible or perceived conflict of interest between the duties and private interests of public officials, they shall comply with the measures established to reduce or eliminate such conflict of interest.

8. Public officials shall, in accord with their position and as permitted or required by law and administrative policies, comply with requirements to declare or to disclose personal assets and liabilities, as well as, if possible, those of their spouses and/or dependants.

The US House of Representatives requires its members to disclose the identity of income-generating assets to be made available for public inspection.

The UK House of Commons has an online Register of Members’ Interests, which also discloses the MPs’ assets, although very briefly. These include properties that generate rental income.

It is important that the public has access to the full asset disclosures as a form of oversight. Without such access, the declarations are virtually meaningless and will probably have limited impact.

After all, the whole purpose of asset disclosures is to allow the public to compare the assets of public officials over time to see if they have benefited beyond what they could earn legitimately from their time in office. If these assets are not included, what is the point?

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Andrew I

Good point, Peter. It might just add to the reasons why there is such a dearth of talent in our political scenario.

So far, it’s been a collection of porn star wannabes, Thatcher wannabes, Mugabe worshippers and people who can’t string a proper English sentence together.

Sometimes, it’s just guilt of association that puts many people off pursuing legitimate political aspirations.

Ong Eu Soon

Genting boss need to declare his asset, nut we all know he is dirt rich. Did he worry for his and his families’ safety? “After seeking legal advice, the state decided that it is best not to include assets owned by EXCO members prior to holding office. This is because the state is unable to provide security for the EXCO and their family members; and neither is there any insurance policy that can be obtained to address this concern. However, every EXCO member has disclosed the information privately to the Menteri Besar’s Office and this information can be released for… Read more »

Peter

I just wonder if declaration requirement will deter talents from entering politics and public offices. Would you like your assets displayed to the whole world and expose yourself to kidnappers etc.?

KM

Rome was not built in a day, at the very least, they are willing to share what they earn, taking into consideration that BN will take advantage of the declaration for sure, especially to Selangor MB by the ex-MB (toyo…).

Hope the current Penang state govenrment would “do it right” and not just do it for the sake of “having it”.

Plain Truth

No need to compare with the US or Britain.

Our asset declaration benchmarks are miles behind Thailand.

ycg

ya…actually what’s the point. b… waste of time disclosing that ****. i believe Tempe & gang can also disclose that without a problem.

Pratamad

Be pragmatic about Malaysian’s political climate. This is a BIG start, and credit should be given. Be real. Do you think many Msians take the monthly salary disclosure without surprise? And what about the potential of being exploited by the other side for their own political mileage. Malaysian public needs to be educated, and slowly given the right expectation and escalation of public service standards.

I am happy and proud with this first move.

Andrew I

It’s a start and one ante our BN friends will be most reluctant to up.

Phua Kai Lit

It’s a start.
Ordinary citizens need to keep up the pressure on
those we elect into office so that we will have
cleaner governments.
This is popular democracy at work.

lulu

from their press release, “After seeking legal advice, the state decided that it is best not to include assets owned by EXCO members prior to holding office. This is because the state is unable to provide security for the EXCO and their family members; and neither is there any insurance policy that can be obtained to address this concern. However, every EXCO member has disclosed the information privately to the Menteri Besar’s Office and this information can be released for legitimate reasons – subject to the conditions set by and approval of the Special Select Committee on Competence, Accountability and… Read more »

lawnm

TS Khalid is no doubt a millionaire. No surprise as he led 2 huge companies before coming into PKR. But I dont see him living lavishly like some from umno bn.. you can look at his spouse, a very simple lady indeed!

johanssm / khun Pana

At least this is a start.
A start of something and i appreciate it.
There is no set of proper guidelines nor laws on this.

Taipingite

Do you honestly think they’re going to declare everything? C’mon.

kittykat46

Its not very useful for previously acquired assets to be made off-limits to the assets declaration.

Its pretty obvious that assets acquired before a person assumed a high political office may benefit by virtue of their position.
Add to that the need for the public to scrutinise possible conflicts of interest between the person’s past business or property activities.

I think the reluctance arises because a few members of the administration are actually very wealthy, and don’t wish to publicise that.

bangsa Cina Malaysia

better than nothing…