G70 raises concern over political funding

Source: The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: The G70 Coalition has commended some of the proposals outlined by the National Consultative Committee on Political Financing, but has identified three areas of concern.

Among the contentions of the coalition – led by G25, the group of influential Malays rich with experience in various fields – is the proposal to not have limits on donations to and expenditure by parties.

“While we acknowledge that individuals and companies have the right to support political parties, this right cannot be to the detriment of the fundamental principle of creating a level playing field during elections,” they said in a statement yesterday. Read more

Panel proposes new political funding law in Malaysia

Source: The Straits Times

A government-appointed committee yesterday proposed a new law in Malaysia to regulate political financing, and that would include a ban on donations from foreign sources.

Mr Paul Low, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department who heads the National Consultative Committee on Political Financing, said it will submit its proposal to the Cabinet in two weeks’ time.

This is the first step towards regulating political donations following an uproar over revelations of a massive cash transfer made to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts in the run-up to the last general election in 2013.

Key among the recommendations for the new Political Donations and Expenditure Act is the ban on cash donations from foreign sources to a political party or politician. “We do not want outside influence on local political institutions as a means to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty,” said Datuk Low.

Datuk Seri Najib was found to have received US$700 million (S$954 million) in his bank accounts in early 2013. The Wall Street Journal has alleged that the money was from debt-laden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

But Malaysia’s Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali cleared the Prime Minister of wrongdoing in January, saying the money was a donation from the Saudi royal family.

Another recommendation by the committee is for political donations worth more than RM3,000 (S$990) per year to be declared. The funds must be deposited into specially designated bank accounts with the party’s records audited. Read more

Bersih 2.0: EC can make candidates reveal how much parties spend for campaigns

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — Election laws dictate that the Election Commission (EC) has the power to compel candidates to disclose how much of their campaign funds came from their respective political parties, polls reform group Bersih 2.0 said.

Maria Chin Abdullah, the group’s chairman, said the election regulator cannot shirk its responsibilities by saying it only has power to monitor the campaign expenses of individual candidates.

“EC can’t say political parties’ expenses is not under their purview. Under S15-15A (of the Election Offences Act) when scrutinising the submission of accounts, EC can ask questions like what part of the expenses comes from political parties?” she told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

Chin was responding to EC chairman Datuk Seri Hashim Abdullah’s statement last week that investigating how much political parties spend during elections is beyond the commission’s purview and control. Read more