At launch event, minister receives, declares and returns gift of phone

Yiswaree Palansamy
Anthony Loke refuses to accept a smartphone as a token of appreciation given by Joseph Herbert Louis, the director of the diffride e-hailing service, August 21, 2018. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 — Transport Minister Anthony Loke illustrated the government’s no-gift policy today by publicly declaring an event organiser’s gift of a mobile phone to him, which he promptly gave back.

In a press conference to announce the launch of the diffride e-hailing service, Loke said he was presented with a smartphone as a token of appreciation.

In full view of the attendees and the media, he then gave the device back to the organiser.

“I’m sure just now you guys have seen that we walk the talk, in the sense that, just now at the end of the ceremony, I was given a token of appreciation.

“I just want to stress that we don’t need such appreciation in future,” Loke said.

Loke, who is Seremban MP, was gifted with a Huawei handphone at the event.

Huawei Technologies Malaysia has partnered with diffride to offer their drivers special rates for the brand’s smartphones.

“I have to reject that gift because I’m sure it’s more than RM500 in terms of value. So in the new government, all ministers, we walk the talk, and just a word to all event organisers, please take note that this is a new regulation by the government.

“As far as I’m concerned, I don’t need any gift. So if you want to invite me to any future functions, I will just attend and we don’t need any gift. Thank you very much.” said Loke.

Last month, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that all members of the Cabinet, as well as lawmakers, would be required to declare their assets soon and report any gifts worth more than RM500 to him, with a copy of the declaration given to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The prime minister, meanwhile, would have to make the declaration directly to the MACC.

Dr Mahathir said that anti-graft laws would be amended to force the prime minister, as well as the deputy prime minister, to declare the receipt of gifts to the federal anti-graft agency.

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