UPDATE: We included a video of Tuan Ibrahim’s speech for your reference.

 

(Artikel asal ditulis dalam BM. Klik sini kalau nak baca!)

 

The Dewan Rakyat has recently passed a special motion for all members of parliament, senators and their immediate family to declare their assets. Just like the asset declaration that was previously implemented on the Prime Minister and ministers, all MPs who have declared their assets would have their names listed on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) website. You can read more on what we found about the previous implementation here.

Although this may seem like a positive move, some people are actually against the motion, including PAS. Its deputy president, Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, believes that it is unnecessary to pass a special motion just for asset declaration because Malaysia has its own legislation for this. For instance, the Inland Revenue Board oversees the income of each Malaysian annually.

Here’s the full video of his speech for your reference:

“Involving one’s wife and children, if we look at Islam, the Prophet teaches (hadith Nabi) that when God gives you possessions, do not declare it to the public as others will be envious.” – Tuan Ibrahim to Malaysiakini.

The main question here is…

 

What does the Quran actually say about asset declaration?

As it turns out… the Quran didn’t say that Islam is against asset declaration. In fact, according to Ustaz Wan Ji Wan Hussin from the Institute of Youth Research Malaysia, Tuan Ibrahim’s statement contradicted the Quran.

“But as for the favor of your Lord, report [it].” – Quran [93:11]

Perlis Mufti, Dr Asri Zainul Abidin mentioned that one of the pillars of Islam is zakat, a form of tax based on the asset you own – income, gold, crops, livestock and others. Each Muslim has a responsibility to declare his/her assets in order to pay zakat. And, generally, the more assets you have, the more zakat you have to pay.

A Malaysian guy paying zakat. Img from The Skop

A Malaysian guy paying zakat. Img from The Skop

“If religion forbids Muslims to declare their assets, of course Muslims won’t be able to pay zakat. So, claims that Islam does not allow a person to declare his/her assets to authorities are false and baseless.” – Dr Asri in his Facebook post.

He also added that asset declaration has been in practice since Prophet Muhammad’s era. Apparently, Prophet Muhammad ensured that govt officials during his time did not abuse their powers to gain more assets unethically. He said that this would meant that the Prophet himself checked the assets that the officials owned.

As a matter of fact, one of the Prophet’s companions, Umar al-Khattab practiced asset declaration during his time. During the rule of Umar, he had even made it mandatory for his governors to report their assets to prevent abuse of public funds.

 

And this practice is still being continued by Islamic countries like Tunisia and Morocco!

Tuan Ibrahim also mentioned that he’s against the motion because he believes that that only members of the ruling party should declare their assets.

“Logically, after years of implementation (of asset declaration), those who will declare their assets are from the ruling party who have access to all govt projects. Not those from the opposition party who don’t have access to approve (govt projects) and won’t be involved in corruption in each projects that will be approved.” – Tuan Ibrahim in his speech, from TV PAS Facebook. Translated from BM.

But actually, the World Bank stated that asset declaration among public officials is powerful tool to prevent corruption as it helps lower levels of perceived corruption, especially in democratic countries. Having said that, many democratic countries have been practicing asset declaration like:

  • Canada: all its civil servants – be it Ministers, MPs or even its police officers – needs to declare their assets
  • European countries: have legislation that requires their civil servants to declare their assets
  • Japan: senior public officials have to declare gifts received in excess, securities transactions and income in excess of ¥1,000,000 (RM38,420), and many more according to this list by right2info.org.
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Surprisingly, our kiasu neighbour didn’t make it to the list. Apparently, 200 Singaporeans have signed an online petition urging their Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, to make all their ministers to publicly declare their asset last year.

But Singapore isn’t the only country that has been left out in this list. Apparently, the list missed out several Islamic countries that are actually practicing asset declaration like Tunisia.

The Tunisian protest that shocked the world. Img from Usip

The Tunisian protest that shocked the world. Img from Usip

After the revolution that toppled its corrupted leader, the new govt had introduced anti-corruption laws that require important people to declare their assets. In fact, this is not only limited to president and ministers but also to senior govt officials, independent bodies, banks, judges, security forces, journalists *gasps* and unions.

Tunisia is not the only Islamic country to do this. Apparently, Morocco has similar legislation. The country first introduced asset declaration back in 1974, by making it compulsory for all judges to declare their assets, including their spouse and children. But that’s not all. They were actually required to declare their assets right away whenever there was a change in the country’s economy. And guess who checks their assets? The Law Minister himself.

Morocco’s legislation changed in 1992 when it introduced asset audits for all civil servants and employees of the state, local authorities and public institutions, as well as members of the govt, their Dewan Rakyat, local councils and even professional chambers. *breathes*

Heck, their interns and normal working people have to do the same!

“Article 158 of the 2011 Constitution requires “all persons, elected or nominated, who take on a public function, in accordance with the modalities of the law, to declare their goods and assets which they hold directly or indirectly, upon assuming office, during office, and on leaving office.” – Excerpt from Transparency International Report.

Things you need to declare if you're working in Morocco. Img from Transparency International

The things you need to declare if you’re working in Morocco. Img from Transparency International

But back at home, PAS Youth Leader, Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi shocked everyone by declaring his assets sometime back in 2012. It was apparently widely covered by the media. And guess who shared that news??

Yeap, Tuan Ibrahim himself! (And, yes, this post is still clickable)

As a matter of fact, he was the one who had requested Najib and Rosmah to declare their assets back in 2015.

Although Tuan Ibrahim was against the motion on asset declaration, PAS members will declare their assets after the special motion has been passed in the Dewan Rakyat. He even suggested the govt to take this motion back so that it can be examined thoroughly and even turn this into a legislation or a part of the MACC Act.

“We don’t have any problem to declare our assets but the issue here is that it follows the rules and procedure.” – Tuan Ibrahim in his speech, translated from BM.