By Terence Fernandez
OCTOBER 11 — Having covered five general elections, one comes to realise that there is a grey area when it comes to proper conduct involving money by political hopefuls and the parties behind them.
From crisp RM100 notes being pressed into my palm (which were immediately returned!) and media centres and computers sponsored by state agencies, I have witnessed numerous examples of questionable conduct which may be in breach of electoral laws or the very least, ethical practises.
Meanwhile, other goings-on take place outside the campaign period, way before Election Day. Which is why watchdog groups have long called for the need to monitor election funding and for politicians and political parties to come clean over the source of their funding and who their well-wishers are.
These calls have often fallen on deaf ears but last year, the government itself initiated attempts to reform political funding regulations with the establishment of the National Consultative Committee on Political Financing on August 14, 2015.
While proponents of good governance would like to think that the leadership caved in to demands from the Opposition and civil society, the more skeptical opine that these “reforms” are meant to curtail the flow of financial support to the Opposition by its ever-expanding support base. Read more