Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem has warned his nine cabinet ministers and 19 assistant ministers of dire consequences if they fail to fulfil the integrity pledge not to dabble in corruption which they swore to uphold today.
Conspicuously absent at the pledge and signing ceremony at the Cabinet room at Wisma Bapa Malaysia in Petra Jaya was Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan.
When asked concerning Awang Tengah’s absence, Adenan said the minister, who has long been accused by his detractors of being corrupt, was overseas.
The chief minister, who set the ball rolling by signing a similar pledge in June last year that included not allowing his family members and relatives to apply for timber concession licences or state land, said he was serious in his fight against corruption.
Speaking at a press conference after the signing which was witnessed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy chief commissioner (Prevention) Datuk Mustafar Ali, Adenan said the signing of the pledge was to show the ministers and assistant ministers’ “sincerity and honesty in running a government”.
“The cynics and sceptics will say this is just a show.
“I will not jump to conclusions now. We’ll see what happens after this. Don’t prejudge us,” said Adenan.
With the pledge, all Sarawak ministers and assistant ministers will have to declare their assets.
Adenan said he expected them to submit the declaration to him as soon as possible even though he had given them no deadline.
When Adenan signed the integrity pledge just three months after taking over the chief minister’s office, it surprised many people as it was seen as an attempt to clean up the image of a government dogged by accusations of corruption.
His predecessor, Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, had faced many accusations of being corrupt by accusers both at home and abroad.
Adenan has since made the tycoons of the six biggest timber companies in the state and the state civil service sign the integrity pledge.
The timber companies had often been accused of paying bribes to forest officers and other law enforcement agencies for their silence as they plundered areas outside their concession areas.
Low said he would now push other state governments to emulate Sarawak’s lead.
The signing of the integrity pledge showed the strong political view and commitment of the Sarawak leadership in fighting corruption, Low said.
“This pledge is a serious thing. It’s a promise to the public that this is the direction the state government is moving towards,” said Low, a former president of the non-governmental organisation Transparency Malaysia. – January 15, 2015.