Failure Of Any Integrity Pledge To Include A Commitment To Publicly Declare Assets By Government Leaders Would Make Such An Integrity Pledge An Exercise In Futility In Committing Towards Full Public Accountability. (en/cn)

Speech By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng During The Inaugral Penang 2012 Wesak Day Celebrations In Dewan Sri Pinang On 22.4.2012.

Penang state government celebrates its first ever Penang Wesak Day Celebrations at Dewan Sri Pinang to honour the birth, enlightenment and the passing away of Gautama Buddha 2,556 years ago. Today’s event is part of the program of the newly-established Non-Muslim Religious Affairs EXCO portfolio headed by me. Themed ‘Patriotism and Religious Harmony for a United Malaysia’, the celebration, which will take place two weeks before the actual Wesak Day on May 5, will trace the history of Buddha.

The event is open to all Malaysians and seeks to promote understanding and respect of each other’s different religious beliefs. As George Town is a UNESCO World Heritage City, Penang is the perfect platform for a diverse eco-system that allows all religions and cultures to flourish and co-exist in harmony. I wish to thank the Malaysian Buddhist Association under its President Ven Ren Yi and Dato Steven Ooi for working with Komtar ADUN YB Ng Wei Aik to make this event a success.

In accordance with Tripitaka or Triple Gem of Buddha, dhama(Buddhist law) and sangha(monks), running a government must be in accordance with the principles of the rakyat, law as well as good and clean leadership. The people deserve a people-centric government that upholds the rule of law. This is achieved through the Penang CAT governance of Competency, Accountability and Transparency, which have brought tremendous progress to the financial health of Penang.

Penang has achieved record budget surplus every year for the last four years not just in Penang state government but also our local government and state government agencies. Penang recorded the highest budget surpluses in history with RM88 million in 2008, RM 77 million in 2009 and RM33 million in 2010.

Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Perai or MPSP recorded surpluses – 2008 RM 3 million; 2009 RM 15 million and 2010 RM 23 million and RM13.6 million in 2011. Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang or MPPP, it recorded RM20.1 million in 2008; RM48.1 million in 2009 and RM89 million in 2010.

Only with these surpluses, the state government can give cash handouts to the elderly, new born babies, primary, secondary and university students but also undertake many development projects of more roads, drainage and green parks. It is not easy for politicians to have a clean leadership practicing CAT. However just like a lotus flower that grows out of the mud and blossoms above the muddy water surface, we can rise above the muddy water and not dirtied by the mud from which you grow.

For this reason, Penang state government is the first state government to implement open tender, disclose the contents of government contracts and declare the personal assets of EXCO members, including the Chief Minister. For this reason, any Integrity Pledge by leaders must necessarily include a commitment to publicly declare assets. Failure to do so would make this Integrity Pledge meaningless and an exercise in futility to ensure full public accountability.

Penang’s clean management and anti-corruption efforts have been praised not only by the Auditor-General Reports every year but also by Transparency International. Even foreign investors have confidence in Penang by making Penang the No.1 or top investment location in Malaysia for the first time in Penang’s history in 2010 and repeating that in 2011. For the second smallest state in Malaysia, Penang is proud to contribute towards 30% of Malaysia’s FDI from 2010-2011.















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