Media statement by Lim Guan Eng in Komtar, George Town on Thursday, 12th January 2012:
Penang State EXCO members publicly declare their assets today
Today, the Penang State EXCO members (excluding ex-officio of State Secretary, State Financial Officer and State Legal Advisor) publicly declared their assets. This fulfils the personal obligation and political commitment of the Penang PR State government. I had proposed 6 integrity measures to ensure a cleaner leadership with integrity in line with the CAT (Competency, Accountability, Transparency) principles.
The 6 integrity measures are as follows:
One, there must be a ban on political parties' involvement in business which can only lead to conflict of interest. How can politics mix with business as the former seeks to uphold public interests whereas the latter is to pursue private benefit and profit? How wealthy political parties that are involved in business have become can be seen by MCA giving money to its members every year.
Two, the ban on mixing politics with business must be followed by establishing an open tender system to check crony capitalism. An open tender system will avoid unjust contracts such as the Independent Power Producers and the toll concession operators allowing the few to earn tens of billions of ringgit in extraordinary profits at the expense of the 27 million ordinary citizens.
Malaysians mourn the "the lost decade of corruption", where the Washington-based financial watchdog Global Financial Integrity (GFI) estimated RM 1,077 billon of illicit money (including corruption money) had been illegally siphoned out of our country from 2000 to 2009. The recent RM250 million "cows and condos" scandal where money was released 2 years before any agreement was signed to a family company of Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, and used to purchase condos instead of cows shows that the BN refuses to change.
No wonder in the latest Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index, Malaysia dropped to 60th place in 2011 as compared to 37th in 2003 when Tun Abdullah Ahmad first took over as Prime Minister. In contrast Penang was praised by TI for implementing open tenders.
Third, Freedom of Information Act to ensure transparency and also public disclosure of government contracts.
Fourthly, there must be a declaration of personal assets by public officials holding positions of public trust.
Fifth, there must be full and unconditional implementation of the 125 recommendations proposed by the 2005 Royal Commission on the Enhancement of the Management and Operation of PDRM, especially the formation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). The IPCMC was intended to cut down abuses of police powers and police corruption. Failure to set up the IPCMC only shows the unwillingness of the BN government to deal with the negative public perception about the police.
Finally, the Elections Commission (EC) must be punished for failure to act or even failure to press for action by the relevant authorities on election bribery, especially failure to comply with the Election Offences Act 1954 imposing election spending limits of RM200,000 for every Parliamentary constituency and RM100,000 for every state constituency.
The Penang State Government has now proven that it is not only cleaner physically, but also cleaner and more transparent in administration. We have shown that we are serious about national integrity by publicly declaring the personal assets of our topmost officials, the State Executive Council (EXCO). This follows the Freedom of Information Act passed by the Penang state assembly introduced last year as well as the famed Open Tender system that has won Penang praise from Transparency International and the Auditor-General.
*Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister