Political funding law must be expedited to avoid tycoons exploiting through donations, govt told

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — The government was urged to expedite the tabling of the political financing Bill to hinder any possibilities of rich and powerful figures to have stakes in the country's democratic institutions.

All-Party Parliamentary Group Malaysia (APPGM) on political financing chairman Wong Chen, who is also Subang MP, said that state financing is vital as delaying the tabling of the Act will halt graft combatting efforts.

“I understand that people think politicians are rich, not true. If we don't do state funding, Datuk Seri, Tan Sri, Tun will make donations to the party and that would be very detrimental to fighting corruption.

“State funding is a very important element in democracy,” he said in a press conference in Parliament today.

Wong further said that he was told that there are no elements of state funding in the Political Financing Bill draft that is being prepared and wants it to be revised as it is an essential element to avoid more corruption in the country's administration.

He also said that the government must present the Bill in Parliament by this term so that it can be implemented in the next general election (GE16).

“We are also asking, when? If possible, the session at the end of the year or at the latest in the next three months,” he added.

In a Parliamentary written reply two days ago, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said pledged that engagement sessions need to be continued to get feedback from political parties and stakeholders, so that the Bill to be enacted is inclusive and comprehensive.

She said that the Bill will be proposed to be referred to the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) so that all Members of the Dewan Rakyat can give their views and suggestions so that all important aspects regarding this political fund are taken into account.

Former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who was recently charged with abuse of power and money laundering over hundreds of millions of ringgit for his party Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, had questioned why he was being charged when other political parties also receive political funding. He had also stressed that the funds went to the party’s accounts and not to his own accounts.

Malaysia currently does not have any laws governing the contribution of funds to political parties and politicians.