Opposition chief claims separation of powers in a bid to justify asset declaration failures

Danial Dzulkifly
Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob claimed the move was the Pakatan Harapan government’s attempt to control the affairs of lawmakers. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 ― Federal Opposition lawmakers did not comply with a parliamentary motion for their mandatory asset declarations as this was allegedly executive interference in the legislature, Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob claimed today.

The deadline for all lawmakers to do so was yesterday and 62 did not comply.

Speaking on the sidelines at the Umno General Assembly here today, the federal Opposition leader claimed the move was the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s attempt to control the affairs of lawmakers.

He claimed the ruling coalition subverted Parliament for this purpose.

“Parliament has the power without interference from the executive but what happens is that the parliament has to follow the instructions of the executive to make a motion to compel MPs including opposition MPs to declare their assets.

“The spirit of declaring assets in any other country is to prevent the abuse of power, on the side of the minister and the deputy minister level, I agree but when we were the ministers we did declare our assets but for those who are not in power such as the opposition, who do not have any power to approve anything, there is no need for us to declare our assets,” he said.

He labelled as insulting Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong’s remarks that action could be taken against lawmakers who failed to declare their assets by the deadline.

Ismail then said Opposition lawmakers have no issue declaring their assets if this becomes required by law.

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang also asserted that the motion for mandatory asset declarations to be unconstitutional.

“What is important is that you must be sincere. There is no use in declaring assets if you are not honest about it,’’ he said to the press who had pressed for comment at the Putra World Trade Centre today 

Yesterday, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Arif MD Yusof confirmed that 160 MPs of the 222 in the House have declared their assets following a motion approved earlier in July this year.

Most of the 160 MPs were from PH and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), while three were from Barisan Nasional (BN) and three others respectively from Parti Sarawak Bersatu, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah and Parti Sabah Bersatu.

This leaves 62 from the Opposition who did not declare.

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