How much does Mahathir earn? Malaysia’s anti-graft watchdog reveals lawmakers’ wages in bid to repair corrupted image
- Finance minister is has the highest monthly salary of the few declarations published so far
- Of the 222 members of parliament, 123 have submitted their earnings
Malaysia’s newly minted Pakatan Harapan government has made history by becoming the country’s first administration to institute mandatory earnings declarations from its elected representatives.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) made public the earnings declarations of almost 50 Pakatan Harapan members of parliament on the eve of the highly anticipated 2019 federal budget, which many believe will be one of sacrifice after the excessive corruption under the previous Barisan Nasional administration.
More elected representatives are expected to file their earnings, and the MACC website, which states lawmakers’ monthly income, is to be continually updated.
The move, which was in the coalition’s election manifesto, was widely praised as a positive step but also raised questions about the true nature and impetus of the mandatory disclosures.
Member of Parliament Wong Chen, from democracy icon Anwar Ibrahim’s People’s Justice Party, said on Facebook that many declarations were yet to be uploaded.
“We are not sure who has yet to declare. What is telling is the assets are in fact not declared, just the monthly income of the MPs. So this should be called an ‘income declaration’ not an ‘asset declaration’. We have been informed that the government will rectify the situation later,” he said.
Of the results already published, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng was the biggest earner with a monthly income of RM86,464.92 (US$20,657.5), believed to stem from his three salaries – parliamentary, ministerial, and state representative.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail had the second highest declared monthly earnings of RM77,629.68 (US$18,546.7), and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had the third highest, with RM75,861.57 (US$18,124.2). His son, Mukhriz, who serves as a state chief minister and a state representative as well as a parliamentarian, has not yet filed his earnings.
Deputy prime minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail also declared her earnings along with her husband, democracy icon and Port Dickson MP Anwar Ibrahim. However, their daughter Nurul Izzah, who is also an MP, was not on the list.
According to the MACC website, 123 parliamentarians have declared their earnings although only 47 have been published so far. There are 222 members of parliament in Malaysia, but representatives from the opposition bloc have not yet been asked to declare their earnings.
Malaysia has been aggressively working to repair its image and bolster the economy following intense allegations of kleptocracy and corruption, which include the former government’s reported role in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad global financial scandal. Mahathir’s government has launched an intense anti-graft dragnet that has resulted in the charging of former premier Najib Razak, his wife Rosmah Mansor, former defence minister Zahid Hamidi, and several other Barisan Nasional-linked figures and politicos.