Parliamentary reform watchdog moots law to regulate political financing

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — A watchdog on parliamentary reforms want the government to enact a law on political financing in Malaysia to improve transparency.

Calling itself the All-Party Parliamentary Group Malaysia (APPGM), the group chaired by Ahmad Fadhli Shaari told a news conference in Parliament today that it has submitted a private Bill on political funding to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker, de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, and the Dewan Rakyat secretary on July 13.

Among the proposals in the motion is the establishment of a political party fund to manage public funding to qualified political parties amounting to RM130 million a year.

A qualified political party will have access to this fund if it gets at least 2 per cent of the total valid votes in an election.

Another proposal is to cap the maximum donation from an individual at RM50,000, RM100,000 from a company, and from RM500,000 from a group of companies in one financial year.

APPGM also suggested that government-related companies and statutory bodies at both the federal and state levels, as well as some foundations, be prohibited from donating to political parties.

APPGM chairman Ahmad Fadhli Shaari said the main purpose is to strengthen transparency and accountability in fund and money management in politics.

"We hope that this Bill will be given passage this session, we hope it can be presented as soon as possible in Parliament and we want to ask for the support and cooperation of all members of Parliament, senators and civil societies.

"This shows how serious we are to make this Bill a reality," he told reporters covering Parliament here today.

APPGM deputy chairman Fahmi Fadzil said it is rare to see a private Bill like this raised to the Dewan Rakyat.

"But at least our intention is to prepare a draft that must have been accepted by the relevant ministers.

"From there, we hope that what is good can be adopted and included as part of the Bill," he said.

Opposition Parti Pejuang Tanah Air president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said his party is happy to be involved in this private Bill.

The Jerlun MP said that new parties such as Pejuang will benefit from this Bill.

"We hope there will be an approach to level the playing field so that all political parties involved in the election have the same opportunity and we can compete in terms of ideas and strength to bring good to our country," he said.