PM, ministers to be regarded public officers, liable to anti-graft laws (Updated)

09 Jul 2018 / 20:39 H.

PUTRAJAYA: The prime minister, deputy prime minister, cabinet members and MPs from the ruling party will be regarded as public officers holding public office and will be liable to the country's anti-corruption laws, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Mahathir said amendments would be made to the government's code of ethics to make them answerable to the law as compared to their current status of "member of the administration".
He said this was among several changes that are to be made to the code soon to hold those in power more accountable.
In April last year, the High Court, in a landmark judgment, ruled that the prime minister is not a public officer but a member of administration, in striking out a lawsuit against then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak for misfeasance in public office.
"There was a decision previously that the prime minister is not (a public officer). But we have now decided that the prime minister, the deputy prime minister, ministers and government MPs will be public officers.
"The courts of law are not god. Their rulings can be changed. If they make rulings that are not in keeping with the times, then we can amend the law.
"If the court previously said the PM and DPM are above the law, we can change it. They will not be spared," he told a press conference after chairing the Anti-Corruption Special Cabinet Committee meeting, here, today.
Mahathir said those mentioned would also be required to declare their assets as well as any gifts they receive while in office to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
"However, we will give leeway to those who receive presents such as flowers, food and plaques," he said.
Mahathir, who is Langkawi MP, said a new law on political funding would also be drawn up soon and that the government is looking at practices of other countries.
Claiming that the formulation of such an act was necessary, he said part of the items to be included in the law was not to allow parties to give out favours to their donors.
“When supporters give donations to a party, they will hope that if the party wins, they will be favoured. That amounts to corruption,” he said.
Earlier in his speech at the Prime Minister's Department monthly assembly,Mahathir said a "certain previous administration" must shoulder the blame for the country's failure to achieve developed nation status by 2020.
Although he did not mention any names, Mahathir is believed to be referring to Najib's premiership and administration between April 2009 and May 2018.
"We introduced Vision 2020 (in 1991) and were on our way towards achieving that. But when we (government) forget about the power that we have and the reason we were in power, then that road comes to an end.
"And now, we no longer believe we can achieve that goal. We will not be a developed nation by 2020," he said.
Mahathir, who mooted Vision 2020, however, maintained that Malaysia would still achieve the developed nation status in the coming years after 2020, with the vast potential the country has.
"But what we need is sincerity, accountability, hard work, effort, and most importantly, we must be satisfied with our work and not with what is given to us," he said.
Mahathir had last month at an event in Japan said he no longer thought Vision 2020 was achievable but that if Malaysians worked very hard with the right policies in place, it could be achieved by 2025.

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