Let’s face facts (part 3)

We have 222 MPs and 576 ADUNs. They are all paid a salary and receive all sorts of allowances. They also have a ‘budget’ to spend in their constituencies. This is further to the chairmanships, directorships and meeting allowances they are paid. How much does all this come to? And how is this ‘budget’ spent? From what I have been told the ‘budget’ is used as a ‘cash cow’ by both sides of the political fence to service their supporters.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

In the United Kingdom, Members of Parliament (MPs) can claim expenses, including the cost of accommodation — “wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred for the performance of a Member’s parliamentary duties”.

In February 2008, an Information Tribunal released details of MPs’ expenses and claims under the Freedom of Information Act. The House of Commons authorities challenged the decision on the grounds that it was “unlawfully intrusive”.

In May 2008, the High Court (England and Wales) ruled in favour of releasing the details of MPs’ expenses claims. In April 2009, the House of Commons authorities announced that the publication of expenses, with certain information deemed “sensitive” removed, would be made in July 2009.

The United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal was a major political scandal triggered by this exposure and subsequent publication by the Telegraph Group in 2009 of expense claims made by members of the United Kingdom Parliament over several years. Public outrage was triggered by disclosure of widespread actual and alleged misuse of the permitted allowances and expenses claimed by MPs, following failed attempts by parliament to prevent disclosure under Freedom of Information legislation.

The scandal aroused widespread anger among the UK public against MPs and a loss of confidence in politics. It resulted in a large number of resignations, sackings, de-selections and retirement announcements, together with public apologies and the repayment of expenses. Several members or former members of the House of Commons, and members of the House of Lords, were prosecuted and sentenced to terms of imprisonment.

The scandal also created pressure for political reform extending well beyond the issue of expenses and led to the Parliament elected in 2005 being referred to as the ‘Rotten Parliament’.

A panel was established to investigate all claims relating to the second homes allowance between 2004 and 2008. Headed by former civil servant Sir Thomas Legg, the panel published its findings on 12 October as MPs returned to Westminster following the summer recess. Each MP received a letter stating whether or not he or she would be required to repay any expenses claimed.

It was announced on 5 February 2010 that criminal charges would be prosecuted against Labour MPs Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine, and Conservative peer Lord Hanningfield in relation to false accounting. On 11 March all four announced they would plead not guilty to charges of false accounting. Potential cases against other unnamed MPs and Lords are still being considered by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service as of December 2010.

The Crown Prosecution Service announced on 19 May 2010 that Labour MP Eric Illsley would be charged with three counts of false accounting; he was also suspended from the Labour Party. It was revealed Lord Taylor of Warwick, a Conservative peer, had been charged with six counts of false accounting.

On 13 October 2010 it was announced that former Labour MP Margaret Moran would also be charged with false accounting, while on 14 October 2010 former Minister of State for Europe and Labour MP Denis MacShane was referred to the Police following a complaint from the British National Party, as a consequence of which he was also suspended from the Labour Party.

Three Labour Peers were suspended on 18 October 2010 due to their expenses claims: Lord Bhatia was suspended from the House of Lords for eight months and told to repay £27,446; Lord Paul suspended from the House of Lords for four months and ordered to pay back £41,982 and Baroness Uddin faces a police investigation for alleged fraud for claiming at least £180,000 in expenses by designating an empty flat, and previously an allegedly non-existent property as her main residence. She was suspended from the House of Lords until the end of 2012 and required to repay £125,349.

On 3 December 2010 David Chaytor pleaded guilty to charges of false accounting in relation to parliamentary expenses claims and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment in early 2011. (Lifted from Wikipedia)


So, no, don’t put words into my mouth. I never said I expect a 100% perfect government and 100% perfect opposition politicians. As what you can read above — and you can read more at the links below — even in the UK we have problems with dishonest politicians from BOTH SIDES of the political divide. In fact, even so-called squeaky-clean Singapore is not really that squeaky clean.

Do you know that recently the UK went through a political crisis that almost brought the government down because one MP had rented a video costing RM25? That was all, RM25! But the video was rented using the official allowance (which means for official purposes only) while the video was not for official purposes. It was a porn video, which means it can’t be for official purposes but for pleasure.

So, yes, this happens also in the UK, as it does even more in Malaysia, and even in squeaky-clean Singapore. But in the UK we are allowed to expose it. We can publicly talk about it. We can make a lot of noise. And no one is going to call you names or accuse you of all sorts of things. That is the difference between here and Malaysia.

Furthermore, when they are caught, action is taken against the perpetrators. Never mind if they are from the ruling party or the opposition. The system is colour-blind and non-partisan. You get roped in to face the music whoever you may be.

I am not naïve in thinking that we can create an utopian state in Malaysia. Malaysia, of all places, would be the last place on earth that we can hope to become perfect. So, corruption, abuse of power, conflict of interest, dishonest dealings, transgressions, etc., are going to occur in Malaysia. We cannot stop it 100%. But that should not stop us from exposing it and from taking action to stem it as much as possible.

We must remember that the opposition battle cry in the 2008 general election was to reject Umno and Barisan Nasional because they are corrupted like hell. We all know how corrupted they are. After all, has not Malaysia Today since 2004 been instrumental in exposing all the shenanigans in the corridors of power?

And the only way to eradicate corruption is to eradicate Umno and Barisan Nasional. “To eradicate the plague we have to kill the rats,” was the argument. Hence, if you want to see corruption eliminated, we have to kick out Umno and Barisan Nasional and vote for Pakatan Rakyat.

Umno launched its zero opposition campaign (pembangkang sifar). In retaliation to that the opposition launched its zero corruption campaign (rasuah sifar). Umno failed in its zero opposition campaign. They lost five states and 82 seats in Parliament. Must we also accept the opposition’s failure to deliver its election promise of zero corruption?

Can Parliament and all the 13 State Assemblies publish a list of how much the 800 or so Members of Parliament and State Assemblypersons (ADUNs) are being paid? What is the cost of keeping all these people in office?

We talk about the abuse of power, corruption, conflict of interest and whatnot involving projects and contracts. Is that the only problem we are facing? What about the other ‘hidden’ costs and expenses that we are not being told about?

We have 222 MPs and 576 ADUNs. They are all paid a salary and receive all sorts of allowances. They also have a ‘budget’ to spend in their constituencies. This is further to the chairmanships, directorships and meeting allowances they are paid. How much does all this come to? And how is this ‘budget’ spent? From what I have been told the ‘budget’ is used as a ‘cash cow’ by both sides of the political fence to service their supporters.

So, do we have 800 honest politicians in office or is the situation in Malaysia no different or worse than in the UK? Even in the UK they have discovered heavy manipulation and abuse of the MPs allowances and claims. And that is in spite of how public things are in the UK. In Malaysia, everyone is doing things behind closed doors.

Why do you think the Pakatan Rakyat MPs and ADUNs do not want to raise a hue and cry about this and expose those crooks in Barisan Nasional? Well, they can’t. Many Pakatan Rakyat people are also doing the same thing. So the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat MPs and ADUNs have to cover each others’ arses.

The salary these people receive is not the main problem although that is costing the taxpayers a lot of money. It is the hidden and undisclosed allowances and expenses that I am worried about. If you think the RM250 million cow project is scandalous, wait till you see how much the 800 Wakil Rakyat are costing us over the last four years since March 2008.

Okay, again, you are going to argue that nothing is perfect and we can’t expect a 100% clean government. Granted! I can buy that. Then please do not go all over Malaysia promising us that if we kick out Umno and Barisan Nasional corruption will be eliminated. Tell us the truth. Tell us that corruption will still be there but it will be reduced if we kick out Umno and Barisan Nasional and vote Pakatan Rakyat.

Then you will not face any problems from me. Then I will not whack Pakatan Rakyat whenever I detect abuse of power, conflict of interest or corruption. I will accept the fact that abuse of power, conflict of interest, or corruption, will still be there but will be less than if Umno and Barisan Nasional were to run the country.

Hey, it is you who promised me zero corruption if we vote Pakatan Rakyat. I am just reminding you about what you promised. And don’t tell me that Umno and Barisan Nasional is even worse. Is that not why we want to kick them out?


Nikki Sinclaire: ‘I’ve got nothing to hide’, says MEP held over expenses ‘fraud’

An MEP, Nikki Sinclaire, has vowed to clear her name after being arrested over alleged expenses fraud at the European Parliament.

24 Feb 2012

Lying, cheating, decent folk 

There may be times when honesty is not the best policy, if it’s trumped by other virtues, says Jenny McCartney.

28 Jan 2012


MPs’ expenses: Nearly £12,000 spent flying back MPs after summer riots for one day 

Nearly £12,000 was spent on flying MPs back from their holidays when the House of Commons was recalled for one day during the summer riots.

12 Jan 2012

Jailed MPs to pay back legal costs 

Three former Labour MPs who were jailed for fiddling their expenses have been ordered to pay back a total of £125,000 – less than half of the money spent on their court cases.

15 Dec 2011

MPs’ salaries could be boosted with allowances 

Expenses: MPs spark anger by suggesting they should be given flat rate allowances and the Fees Office be reinstated.

12 Dec 2011


£600,000 goes on late-night taxis for Parliament’s workers

Taxpayers are going to fork out £600,000 a year so staff working in Parliament can be ferried home in taxis after dark.

30 Nov 2011


MPs’ expenses rules could be relaxed

MPs could be given “lump sum” expenses payments and allowed to continue claiming for the cost of mortgages on their second homes, under plans being considered by a parliamentary watchdog.

25 Nov 2011

Labour MP Alan Keen dies at 73

Labour MP Alan Keen has died at the age of 73 after a battle with cancer.

14 Nov 2011

Government credit card was cloned, claims Lord Prescott

Former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott has blamed a “cloned” government credit card for apparently excessive spending by his officials.

29 Oct 2011


PM: no revenge for MPs’ expenses

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has insisted that the Leveson inquiry into journalistic standards will not be used to shackle the press in revenge for its exposure of the expenses scandal.

21 Oct 2011


MPs complain to doctor about expenses jokes

Frustration with the new expenses system is damaging MPs’ mental well-being, the doctor who looks after them has said.

11 Oct 2011


Expenses inquiry MPs to be named

A group of about 20 MPs investigated for alleged expenses abuses will be named today after a climb-down by the Commons watchdog.

10 Oct 2011

MPs’ expenses: home detention curfew scheme explained

The MPs jailed for fiddling their expenses have all been released early under the home detention curfew scheme.

20 Sep 2011

Expenses MPs and their sentences: how long each served

Four MPs and two members of the House of Lords have so far been jailed as a result of the expenses scandal. All have since been released. Here are the details of their cases.

20 Sep 2011

Elliot Morley released after just quarter of jail term

Former environment minister freed from prison after serving a quarter of his 16-month sentence for fiddling his expenses.

20 Sep 2011

Margaret Moran cries during expenses hearing

Former Labour MP wept inconsolably as she appeared in court accused of making £80,000 of fraudulent expenses claims.

19 Sep 2011

Margaret Moran leaves court in tears

The former Labour MP departs Westminster Magistrate’s Court in tears following her appearance in the dock to face charges of fiddling her parliamentary expenses by around £80,000.

19 Sep 2011

MPs’ expenses: Margaret Moran cries in dock at hearing

Former Labour MP Margaret Moran cried in the dock today as she appeared in court accused of fiddling her expenses by around £80,000.

19 Sep 2011

Lord Hanningfield: timeline of expenses claims

Lord Hanningfield, the former Conservative peer found guilty of fiddling his parliamentary expenses, has been released from prison. Here is a timeline of his expenses claims and prosecution.

14 Sep 2011

Lord Hanningfield arrested over fraud claims

Lord Hanningfield was arrested today over allegations he made fraudulent claims while leader of his local council.

14 Sep 2011

Lord Hanningfield guilty

Former Tory peer falsely claimed almost £14,000 in expenses fraud.

12 Sep 2011

Hanningfield treated ‘very well’ in jail

Lord Hanningfield, the former Tory peer, has said he was treated “very well” in prison during his few months behind bars for fiddling his parliamentary expenses.

12 Sep 2011

Tory serves quarter of sentence

Lord Hanningfield jailed for falsely claiming £14,000 in expenses.

12 Sep 2011


MP to face 21 expenses charges

Margaret Moran, the former Labour MP for Luton South, is to be charged with fiddling her expenses by more than £60,000.

06 Sep 2011

Final MP under expenses investigation ‘to be charged today’

The final MP still under investigation over the alleged abuse of parliamentary expenses is set to be told today that she is to face criminal charges, the Daily Telegraph understands.

06 Sep 2011

MPs’ expenses: Jim Devine released after four months

1 Aug 2011

Expenses: Ipsa won’t name MPs

25 Jul 2011

MPs’ expenses: Eric Illsley claimed £150,000

22 Jul 2011

Lords claiming more on expenses despite reforms

21 Jul 2011

MoD spends £100m on hotels

10 Jul 2011

MPs’ expenses: 1in 5 do not want to provide receipts

7 Jul 2011

Lord Hanningfield jailed for fiddling expenses

1 Jul 2011

Victory, but the law must change

19 Jun 2011

Sunday Telegraph wins libel case

16 Jun 2011

New Lords expenses system costing taxpayers millions

9 Jun 2011

Civil servants fight to keep Whitehall expenses secret

7 Jun 2011

Liberal Democrats could lose up to a quarter of their seats

6 Jun 2011

MPs spend nearly £1m on credit cards

2 Jun 2011

MPs rack up expenses bill of £3.2m in first two months of the year

2 Jun 2011

Lord Taylor jailed for 12 months over expenses

31 May 2011

MP served quarter of sentence

26 May 2011

MPs expenses: I fiddled £31,000 after bullying by ‘powerful enemy?, says Elliot Morley

21 May 2011

Elliot Morley jailed for cheating his expenses

20 May 2011

Peer ‘claimed for London stay while on flight to India’

17 May 2011

Former MP Eric Illsley released from jail

14 May 2011

No first names, John

14 May 2011

Ipsa hits back over MPs? demand for expenses overhaul

14 May 2011

David Laws ‘facing criminal investigation’

13 May 2011

MPs vote for reform of new expenses system

13 May 2011

Cameron and Clegg call for Laws to stay ‘in public life’

13 May 2011