(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yesterday announced that all new state executive councillors would have to declare their assets to the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) before taking office.
I welcome this latest government move to check corruption, although it still falls short of a public declaration of assets.
All new Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries as well as Mentri-Mentri Besar and Chief Ministers should also be required to declare their assets to the ACA and subject to ACA clearance before taking office.
Anwar told reporters yesterday that the government would not name any leader under investigation just because a complaint was made against him or her and that the person would be named the moment reasonable evidence or proof is at hand before proceeding with specific charges.
The Malaysian public, however, are entitled to know the outcome of the ACA investigations into the other seven other State Executive Councillors apart from former Malacca State Exco member Datuk Shahar Arpan, when the ACA investigations had started, the substance of the investigations and why they are taking such a long time - even without naming specific names!
Although the ACA has recovered some public confidence with the recent arrest and prosecution of Shahar on three charges of corruption, the ACA must realise that it has a lot of ground to recover if it is to fully gain public confidence about its independence and powers to fight corruption regardless of rank and station, without fear or favour.
The time has come for the government to show that it is totally committed to rid society of corruption by adopting "Zero Corruption" as the national objective - and making Malaysia the first country in the world with such a government and national commitment.