That is what leadership is about!

This is from the MalaysianInsider today:

MCA today asked the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to give examples of countries which asked their Cabinet members to declare their assets to the public.

Its president, Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, said to his knowledge, no country practised such a policy.

“Even in the United States, they only declare their assets to the president. They don’t go around announcing their assets here and there,” he told reporters after opening Perak MCA’s annual convention here today.

Dr Chua said this when asked to comment on remarks made by MACC chief Datuk Seri Abu Kassim Mohammed that he wished to see the public declaration of assets by Cabinet and judiciary members in Malaysia.

Abu Kassim yesterday was reported to have said that he agreed with a suggestion by former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan which called for Cabinet members to declare their assets to the public in the interest of transparency.

Presently, Cabinet members declare the assets annually to the prime minister.

I support Abu Kassim in this. Since the cabinet is made up of people voted in by the people and is supposed to act as  proxies for the people , there is such a thing called accountability. They are the representatives of the people and by virtual of being paid by the public,  they are public servants. And the public has the right to know about whether they have amassed unusual amount of wealth while in office. If that is so, something must be wrong somewhere and MACC must be given power to investigate.

It is very simple. For a Minister to stay in a house worth tens of millions, like what a former MB’s house was estimated to be, there must be something wrong, since even if they saved every single cent while in office, it is just not possible.

If  they can be clean, I , as a tax payer and their ultimate boss,  do not actually mind to pay them higher salary, like the little red dot is doing down south. I am sure most of you do not mind paying them higher salary so that they can live comfortably as a public servants if only they can be clean and there is no corruptions.

Just because other countries are not doing it does not mean that Malaysia should  not do it, if it is good. We should not follow people blindly.

Just like the chipped passport, which I believe Malaysia is  one of the first to adopt, why cant we be the first to  do something which is good and which is not done elsewhere in the world?

That is what leadership is about!

17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Richard Loh
    Aug 01, 2010 @ 22:20:06

    Dr. Hsu,

    I am very very angry, I just came back from the anti-isa vigil in Penang. After reading your posting it makes me even hotter to boiling point.

    Even in the United States, they only declare their assets to the president.

    No journalist got the guts to ask him, he wants to compare to the US, ask him why we have no freedom, free speech, no isa like the US.

    Tonight anti-isa in Penang has yet to start and they already arrested 3 people. The police force outnumbering the people and they force everyone to disperse. It was understood that a group of malays were there to intimidate the police to arrest while they themselves are free to do what they like.

    Like

  2. disgusted
    Aug 01, 2010 @ 23:34:33

    The logic is simple, those who object must have something to hide.

    Not only must they declare their assets, they all must go through a “lie-detector” test manage and conduct by professional experts in the lie detector tests, which US frequently conduct.

    Like

  3. stevent
    Aug 02, 2010 @ 01:48:25

    I wonder which US of A Dr Chua is refering to. Politicians are required to declare their assets when running for higher office. That’s how we know who has how much. How do you think the public knows Obama made 4 million last year or the Clintons are worth 100 million or that Sen. Feinstein is worth a billion? In fact, in most developed nations, politicians are already required to state their assets.

    Like

  4. stevent
    Aug 02, 2010 @ 01:55:57

    P.S. Maybe i should be more specific. In the US, politicians are required to declare all their sources of income. Perhaps Dr. Chua here is trying to be legally correct but obviously misinterpreting his statements. I.E. A home is also considered an income as it has a value on it as taxes got to be paid! Incomes and assets are practically the same thing except in the court of law.

    Like

  5. BabaNyonya
    Aug 02, 2010 @ 11:26:54

    It is not a legal requirement, but all US Presidential candidates in recent years have released their tax returns.

    You can see them all here:

    http://www.taxhistory.org/www/website.nsf/Web/PresidentialTaxReturns?OpenDocument

    In the US, showing your tax return is the same as declaring your wealth because failing to declare all your income to the Internal Revenue Service is a criminal offence.

    Of course in the US as in other developed countries, the income tax laws apply to everyone whether they are rich and powerful or not.

    US Cabinet ministers are vetted by the senate before appointment. They have to disclose their income before open hearings. Nominees have been rejected for not paying their taxes:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB123368340324444099.html

    Like

  6. klm
    Aug 02, 2010 @ 11:30:09

    It just shows how scared thesebloody BN politicians areif they have to show their assets. It is a known fact that the DVD star has bank accounts in Switzerland, HK and Singapore. One agency had tracked down these account. But what they cannot find was the source of these money.

    A friend had a dealing with the then Gerakan’s spittle flying president. He told me this president was a magician. He could conjure 50M RM overnight for a deal.

    How can they declare all these unknown sources of assets? They have to go to jail to do it.

    Like

  7. Dr Hsu
    Aug 02, 2010 @ 12:29:31

    BabaNyonya and Stevent,
    This is what we called disinformation, to mislead those who did not know and who did not bother to find out. I beliee in what your 2 say that in US they need to declare , even their campaign donations and expenses.

    But as i have said, even if no other country has done this, why can’t we be the first to do so since this is something logical and good.

    Like

  8. clearwater
    Aug 02, 2010 @ 13:17:28

    In respect of income/assets declaration by our Cabinet Ministers, there has obviously been a complete absence of leadership….leadership by example, that is. If the Prime Minister were to make such a declaration public and transparent, all other Cabinet Ministers would be under tremendous public pressure to follow suit.

    Even better still, the ex-Prime Minister lead the way by his own personal declaration together with that of his 3 sons.

    Like

  9. CYC
    Aug 02, 2010 @ 13:21:34

    klm,

    Do u need to be informed of your father pending arrest by the police or pending to be charge in court? Yes, according to MCA. This is reason why the question props up whether CSL was informed of their ex fish head being charged in court re PKFZ. No wonder BN always emphasize on consultation instead of debate. So, they go to jail after a consultation session even though the source of income cannot be justified.

    Dr Hsu, they don’t even publish their account on how elected representative spent their development fund of 500K? per annum on their constituency. And this is major part of the reason why Gelakan lost in Teratai, Ampang.

    Money is one and everything politics. There will see change of GLCs heads whenever there is a change of PM. Change of BOD members of party owned entity when MCA change their president. Need to elaborate more?

    They are more willing to make public their private part than declaring their financial assets. So, don’t blame CSL as he is only human, a political human.

    Like

  10. klm
    Aug 02, 2010 @ 14:51:44

    I was told that on the day LLS was to be charged in court, the police went to his house and could not find him. They hunted for him the whole day until 4 pm in the evening. Seemed there was a leakage of information. What happened between morning and 4.00 pm is anybody’s guess. Maybe, consultation and with whom?

    Like

  11. Cadraver
    Aug 03, 2010 @ 02:05:55

    I for one believe that Dr Chua is merely playing it safe from a political point of view. If he were to say something along the lines of ‘as a matter of public interest governmental personnel should declare their assets’ then his party would have to follow as well.

    I’m not sure about other countries’ initiatives in declaring their incomes and whatnot, but politicians being mite more transparent, especially in our modern world, would go a long way in gaining public trust.

    Like

  12. disgusted
    Aug 03, 2010 @ 02:27:33

    The MCA president did not do his homework and disappointing that his think tank also never advise him.

    After the Watergate and several other public scandals, US Congress enacted and passed the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, requiring detailed financial disclosures by high level government employees in ALL 3 branches of the Federal Government.

    Requires annual disclosures of financial information by the president, vice president, Congress members, federal judges, presidential appointees (above specified pay scale) or those in policy making responsibilities. Also public accessible in full for 6 years with limited exceptions. These financial disclosures reports can be found in the Internet.

    MACC should have accepted Dr Chua’s challenge to name the countries. At least 8 countries in Latin America senior officials must declare to public on full asset declaration.

    Even in China, it passed new rules on July 11 this year on asset declaration but falling short of making it public unlike in the USA and several other countries made accessible to the public.

    I hope MACC will come out and accept Dr Chua’s challenge.

    Like

  13. Taikohtai
    Aug 03, 2010 @ 17:18:50

    What a load of crap from the head sex mechanic of MCA! In Australia, all pollies have to declare and I have known a few to have stood down over inadvertent non-declaration of shares worth only few thousand dollars. And they were damn good pollies too!!
    Can Malaysia follow the Aussie system of separation of business and politics?
    Not a chance, under BN!!

    Like

  14. wisely
    Aug 03, 2010 @ 18:28:21

    To me CSL is a good leader. He walk his talk. To declare or not to declare to me made no different since one can still cheat or just fill the form with minumun info like khalid did in selangor – just the salary. But if this is what the rakyat want and to ‘show’ that we ‘have’ nothing to hide, one should do so even there’s no directive. Has Penang declare? …..i lost track.

    Like

  15. klm
    Aug 04, 2010 @ 11:20:30

    CSL is a good leader. My god. Such low standard. No wonder we are in deep shit.

    Like

  16. CYC
    Aug 04, 2010 @ 11:44:29

    A wise man would not regard himself as wise, worst still to name himself as one wise silly man.

    Like

  17. Phua Kai Lit
    Aug 05, 2010 @ 16:32:04

    Errr …. klm

    In Third World politics (Zimbabwe-style), a good leader is one who enriches himself/herself and his/her followers (never mind the public interest).
    So there !

    Like

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