Ban foreign donors, political funding panel says

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Source: The Malay Mail Online

The bi-partisan panel on political funding says cash donations from foreign sources to a political party or politician should be banned. — AFP pic

The bi-partisan panel on political funding says cash donations from foreign sources to a political party or politician should be banned. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 ― The bi-partisan panel on political funding wants all forms of foreign donations banned under a proposed law to regulate political financing.

The proposal was part of the 32 recommendations in a report prepared and released by the National Consultative Committee on Political Financing today.

“Cash donations from foreign sources to a political party or politician should be banned.

“This includes donations from individuals, companies, foundations, organisations, associations or any registered or non-registered entities that are not domiciled in Malaysia,” the panel said in its report.

Other proposals proposals listed in the Political Donations and Expenditure Act (PDEA) is the formation of an independent oversight body with the power, to among others, confiscate money from unknown sources.

The body, to be overseen by a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Political Financing, will be called the Controller of Political Donations and Expenditure (Controller).

“The PDEA should be introduced and it must include robust provisions to cater for all the considerations in this report.

“In drafting the PDEA the drafters must analyse all the laws governing electoral conducts as well as the Police Act 1967, the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, the Official Secrets Act 1972, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 and any other laws that may be relevant,” the panel said in its report.

The Controller under the PDEA must be be overseen by a Board comprising “trusted figures” and no active politicians.

The appointment and its internal decision-making mechanism must also be based on a model “respected by the Malaysian public”, the report added.

On donation, it proposed that donations not be capped, but above RM3,000 must be declared and the donor identified to the Controller.

The section of Election Offences Act 1954 that currently limits campaign spending to RM100,000 and RM200,000 for state and federal seats, respectively, could also be amended or repealed once the PDEA is passed.

The PDEA will grant the Controller power to monitor fund movements by forcing political parties and candidates to set up specially-designated bank accounts.

 

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