Asset declarations, for transparency or political agendas?

(MALAYSIA NOW) – A criminologist has questioned the value of the asset declarations by PKR candidates ahead of the general election, saying they appear to be linked more with a political agenda than a desire to be transparent.

Kassim Noor Mohamed, who is based in the UK, said asset declarations must be done according to the proper procedure.

“Usually, a declaration of assets is made once you are appointed to public office,” he said.

“When they do it this way and announce it to people, it’s almost as though it has more to do with a political agenda than actually wanting to be transparent.”

Candidates from PKR have declared their assets in the run-up to the 15th general election (GE15), although questions were raised in some cases about a lack of details.

PKR’s candidate in Sungai Buloh, R Ramanan, submitted a declaration listing down his wealth under various categories including more than RM23 million in cash as well as jewellery worth RM4 million.

He also listed RM27 million in property, RM8.6 million in vehicles and RM3.5 million in stocks and insurance, leading to a total of RM63.5 million in net assets minus some RM2.5 million debts for housing and car loans and credit card balance.

However, he did not include a detailed breakdown of these assets, and gave no indication of how much he had in his bank accounts or the Employees Provident Fund.

Meanwhile, PKR’s candidate in Hulu Selangor, Sathia Prakash Nadarajan, declared RM4 million in net wealth but gave no further details, either.

Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman is among a number of Muda candidates who have declared their assets as well, stating net assets of over RM1.9 million.

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, Kassim said a lack of details would cast doubt on the intention behind asset declarations.

“If you see, there are some candidates who only give numbers,” he said.

“When this happens, say someone lodges a complaint with the authorities, and when the authorities investigate, they are blamed instead.

“Then this is labelled as political persecution – is this what they want?”