Call on DAP MPs to publicly declare their travel claims to set an example of accountability and transparency to Barisan Nasional/ Barisan Alternative MPs and Ministers and Deputy Ministers
- Bukit Bintang DAP Anniversary Dinner
by Lim Kit Siang
(Kuala Lumpur, Friday): The revelation by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Ministers’ Department Datuk Nor Omar in Parliament on Wednesday that MPs could submit travel claims exceeding RM10,000 a month even when there were no parliamentary meetings have come as a shock not only to Malaysians, but even to me, although I had been a Member of Parliament for 30 years from 1969-1999.
Nor revealed the names of 14 MPs last year and six MPs in the first six months of this year who made travel claims exceeding RM10,000 a month, involving 16 MPs (as four MPs are to be found in both lists) – 8 from the Barisan Nasional, 5 PAS from PAS, 2 Keadilan and 1 DAP, viz:
Nor said the total amount claimed by Apandi for the 10 months last year was a “whopping” RM132,000 while for the first half of this year, his monthly claims for six months amounted to RM78,356.96.
There is a lot of confused thinking about the hottest topic in the country, the excessive travel claims by MPs – about the distinction between “meeting claims” and “non-meeting claims”.
I had asked Goh Kheng Huat, whose name appear on the list of the 16 MPs who had submitted travel claims exceeding RM10,000 a month, and he told me that his was a “meeting claims” in relation to the parliamentary budget meeting in October last year for the purposes of hotel, meeting and living allowances during the long budget meeting.
What was news to me however are “non-meeting” travel claims by MPs which could exceed RM10,000 a month, when they receive invitations to Federal, State and government agency functions.
All the 16 MPs named by Nor should publicly clarify whether their travel claims exceeding RM10,000 a month were “meeting claims” or “non-meeting” claims, and if they were “non-meeting” claims, to give a breakdown of the claims.
DAP MPs should publicly declare their travel claims, both “meeting claims” and “non-meeting claims”, to set an example of accountability and transparency to Barisan Nasional and Barisan Alternative MPs as well as to the Ministers and Deputy Ministers. When DAP MPs meet in Parliament on Monday, they should give this proposal serious consideration.
In fact, all political parties should make public the travel claims of their MPs, whether above or below RM10,000 a month, in keeping with the principles of accountability and transparency.
The Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) Director of Investigations Datuk Nordin Ismail has said that ACA would investigate the excessive travel claims of MPs exceeding RM10,000 a month to ascertain as to whether any offence of corrupt practice had been committed.
The pertinent question is whether the ACA is the proper body to conduct such investigations, in that it would be independent, professional, unbiased and will not play “political games” to serve Barisan Nasional interests at the expense of the Opposition. The history and record of the ACA does not inspire confidence that it is an independent, professional, unbiased, fearless agency to combat corruption without fear or favour to any quarter.
DAP welcomes full, independent and professional investigations into false claims of elected representatives, on three conditions:
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman