Create a Political Financing Mechanism that has Integrity
In January 2019, the National Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Centre (GIACC) director-general Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed stated that the GIACC was in talks with political parties to prepare the Political Funding Bill before it would be presented to the Cabinet and later tabled in Parliament. On April 9th, the GIACC stated that the Election Commission was also looking, among others, into issues surrounding political financing. It further stated that a report on the matter would be submitted to the Cabinet.
We commend the government’s move to initiate consultations with the political parties in preparing the Political Financing Bill. We however would like to emphasize that consultations with civil society organizations is equally important and should be immediately initiated. This is in line with the government’s obligation under Article 13(1)(a) of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) which mandates that the government promote active participation of society which includes civil society organizations in decision-making processes. Consultations with civil society organizations are key to ensuring that the Bill truly captures all pertinent points that need to be included to ensure its effective application and implementation.
We would like to also urge that a clear roadmap be provided to inform the public of the steps that the government intends to take to ensure that the law on political financing is eventually enacted. Under Article 13(1)(b) of the UNCAC, the government has an obligation to ensure that the public is given effective access to information related to its anti-corruption measures.
Introduce a new Political Financing Control Act
29 August 2019 – Datuk Seri Najib Razak issued a RM246,000 cheque in an effort to provide “objective” information to Sino Malaysian community about his Barisan Nasional administration’s policy in 2013, the ex-prime minister’s one-time political secretary testified at the High Court today. Datuk Wong Nai Chee, 50, said the cheque paid to tycoon Tan Sri Lim Soon Peng was intended for AD Network, which was the administrator of the “Ah Jib Gor” Facebook page account, as well as Akademi Kewartawanaan and Informasi Taima (AKIT) which managed a vernacular publication titled Chinese Weekly.
C4 – The shocking revelation that Najib Razak paid RM246,000 to astroturf the Chinese community support and to manipulate the news is an affront to democracy and fair play. The probable use of stolen 1MDB money for his own political gain points to an urgent need for a comprehensive and transparent Political Financing laws. These laws will ensure future political and elections campaigns that are transparent and accountable to Malaysians and the law.
4 May 2019 – On political funding, Rashid said the ERC was currently reviewing a report prepared during former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low’s tenure. “All political parties must declare their finances. There will be no more hiding. Everyone, including the government, has to own up.
“It’s alright to receive a lot of money, but we must know the source.”
2 May 2019 – Economist Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram today called for the establishment of a political financing system in Malaysia to ensure that political parties no longer need to get money from corporations or in an illicit way. He said there should be an alternative source of financing with very strict rules for political parties to adhere.
Jan 29, 2019 – Government is looking at the possibility of introducing a new act to monitor activities related to political funding. GIACC is in talks with political parties to prepare the Political Funding Bill before it is presented to the Cabinet and later tabled in Parliament, hopefully in June.
9 April 2019 – The Election Commission is reviewing the entire electoral process. One of the key areas being studied is political financing. A Political Financing Act is being drafted
currently in the AG’s office, will be tabled in the cabinet soon.
Set-up a Special Committee to prepare new Act and examine all proposals which include:-
- Political parties that qualify will receive annual funding from the Government according to a transparent and consistent formula
- Contributions must be from identifiable sources
- Parties must submit annual audited financial report
- Parties’ assets not in excess of RM1 billion
- Government-owned companies are not allowed to make contributions