Do we want to promote more money politics? — Ramon Navaratnam

Source: Malaysiakini

BY RAMON NAVARATNAM

Most Malaysians are wondering why the chairperson of the National Consultative Committee on Political Financing (NCCPF), YB Paul Low, and his able committee members have casually recommended the removal of the cap on funding and spending during future election campaigns?

Is it their purpose to promote and expand money politics, instead of controlling this somewhat callous and corrupting bad electoral practice?

Does this new election recommendation help to promote ‘state capture’, where the rich and powerful will be able to provide limitless political funding, that is even tax free, to elect favoured candidates of the rich and to keep them in power ad infinitum or, forever and ever, as the old song goes?

YB Paul Low succeeded me as the former president of Transparency International-Malaysia and so he would definitely know that we were all opposed to likely and real abuses that usually occur in election campaign financing.

The election abuses and the resultant rot get to be excessive and intolerable, particularly when there are no limits whatsoever on election funding and expenditures. This is where we could go wild in our financing elections if there is a no cap policy on election campaign expenditures.

Presently, there are clear cut limits on campaign spending of RM200,000 for federal elections and RM100,000 for state elections, for each election candidate.

Now YB Paul Low and his merry Committee have happily recommended that the sky is the limit for campaign election fund raising and spending. Furthermore, contributors to political funding can also enjoy tax exemption. Good grief, now please explain to us simple voters – what has happened to the well-tried principles of good governance? Read more