The New Straits Times today carried a front-page report of the Federal police Narcotics Department branch seizing about RM1.2 million in cash and property including three houses and three cars from a 48-year-old man believed to have been purchased using money obtained from the sale of dadah.
The three double-storey houses are in Taman Mutiara and Taman Len Seng in Kuala Lumpur and Bandar Baru Ayer Hitam, Penang.
The houses are believed to be worth about RM500,000 while the cars - a Mercedes Benz 260E, a Honda Accord 200i and a Honda Civic Exi - another RM500,000. Police also seized jewellery worth RM175,000 from a safe deposit box and cash totalling RM13,000 including S$2,000 from a bank account.
The man was detained on Jan 25 under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) 1985 and is being detained for two years at the Simpang Rengam prison in Johore.
The seizure of property was carried out under section 28(1) of the Dangerous Drugs Act (Forfeiture of Property) 1988, under which the property owner has three months to prove that he had bought the houses and cars using legal means.
The report said Police had seized more than RM51.83 million worth of properties, including 20 houses, 19.13 ha of land, vehicles, jewellery and cash since the enforcement of the Dangerous Drugs Act (Forfeiture of Property) in 1988.
The question that must be in the minds of many Malaysians who read this report is when the Anti-Corruption Agency would be empowered with powers to seize and confiscate ill-gotten properties involving those holding high government and political office as a result of corruption - which are completely disproportionate to their known sources of income and for which there could be no explanation that these assets had been amassed using legal means.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, had recently said that there would be amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Will the Bill to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act be presented to the forthcoming meeting of Parliament next month and would it include powers to seize and confiscate assets and properties of high political and government leaders which are disproprotionate to their known sources of income and for which they could not satisfactorily explain had been acquired by lawful means?