Dr M in favour of declaration of assets

KUALA LUMPUR - Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is in favour of cabinet members declaring their assets to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), but said it should not be made public.

The former prime minister suggested instead that ministers and deputy ministers declare their assets to a neutral body that does not have any political interest.

"It (asset declaration) is good if they report to a body that is neutral that is not taking sides with any political party. This is so that it will not be used for political purposes," said Dr Mahathir, when met by reporters at the MCA Chinese New Year open house Monday.

"If the asset declaration is made public, then people will focus on that instead, and not on unity or development."

Dr Mahathir also said cabinet members who were not willing to be transparent should quit and not wait to be sacked.

"People who become ministers must be honest. If they feel they are not honest, please resign and don't wait to be kicked out. I resigned, I didn't get kicked out," he added.

Dr Mahathir was commenting on the suggestion by MACC that cabinet ministers declare their assets as well as that of their family members to the commission.

Deputy International Trade and Industries Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said he would agree to the declaration of assets if the proposal was agreed upon by all involved.

"In practice, the declaration of assets is something that all ministers do before the Prime Minister upon their appointment.

"It is one of the first things we are required to do and are given a form to fill. As to whether the declaration should also be submitted to the MACC, I will follow suit if all agree," he said when met at the same function.

However, he said it would be fairer if the declaration does not include assests only but also liabilities faced by ministers as this was also crucial.