New Straits Times

BN move to make funding transparen­t lauded

- By Rohaniza

KUALA LUMPUR: The formulatio­n of a specific Act on political financing, propounded by the Barisan Nasional government since 2009, is to ensure that all forms of funding to political parties are done transparen­tly, say experts.

However, analysts believe that the opposition does not appear to have fully supported the move.

Instead, it doubts that it can be done transparen­tly.

Datuk Dr Mohd Tap Salleh, who is the former president of the Integrity Institute of Malaysia, said the suggestion, which was mooted by Datuk Seri Najib Razak upon becoming prime minister, reflected a mature brand of politics.

He said efforts had been carried out, with more than 30 ideas put forward to ensure that political financing was done systematic­ally and transparen­tly.

“What puzzles me is that the opposition appears to be stubborn in its refusal to accept the idea proposed by the special committee studying the rules on political financing at the time.”

The formation of a special governance on political financing was among the ideas Najib had put forward in the National Transforma­tion Plan in 2009.

However, not all political parties showed interest in the idea.

In August 2015, he announced the formation of the National Consultati­ve Committee on Political Financing (JKNMPP), which underscore­d 32 suggestion­s to the government, including the formulatio­n of the Political Donations and Expenditur­e Act, after an almost year-long public consultati­on.

Tap, who is now a member of the AntiCorrup­tion Advisory Board, said it should be clear that the formation of rules governing political financing was not meant to stem the flow of funds received by political parties.

He said the move reflected maturity and also fairness for all political parties during elections, as practised in developed countries.

“The United States, for example, sets specific rules on funding so that all those who are campaignin­g in the election do so in a fair and transparen­t manner.”

Dr Muhammad Fathi Yusof, who is Research Fellow (Law and Constituti­on) at Centre of Research for Fiqh, Science and Technology of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, said the government appeared to be showing a high degree of commitment towards making political financing transparen­t by setting up the JKNMPP.

Dr Fathi, who is also JKNMPP technical committee member, said the idea to create the Political Donations and Expenditur­e Act, formulated by JKNMPP, should have been brought to Parliament before the 14th General Election.

However, the idea could not be expedited due to technical and legal factors.

“This is being done in the interest of the country and its people so that there is no wastage of funds.

“What’s more important is that this ensures that there is no interferen­ce or foreign influences in deciding the nation’s political direction,” he said.

Geostrateg­ic expert Azmi Hassan said the opposition appeared to be reluctant to accept the government’s idea on political financing even though it knew that it was for the greater good.

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