PETALING JAYA: The group of prominent Malays, G25, has backed the Prime Minister’s proposal for a committee to regulate political funding, saying that this will help “clean up” local politics.
However, it said the Government needed to address public concerns about donations from powerful individuals and companies, which could be linked to cronyism, favouritism and corruption.
“And if the donors are foreign, there is a question whether they have a sinister agenda in getting involved in our politics,” the group said in a statement here yesterday.
The integrity of elections, it said, could also be threatened if the winning party was perceived to have had an unfair advantage by spending more money to attract voters.
“The whole purpose of holding elections will become a farce if the public sees it as a meaningless ritual in democracy, manipulated by the rich and powerful to serve their own interests.
“The proposal to have a law making all political parties declare their source of funding should be welcomed as an urgent need to save the legitimacy of elections and the survival of democracy,” said the group.
On Friday, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had announced the setting up of a national consultative committee to formulate guidelines on political funding.
The committee, to be headed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low, would be tasked with ensuring that political parties were more transparent about their source of funding in time for the 14th general election.
G25, made up of former high-ranking civil servants, also proposed several measures to legitimise political contributions, including laws on political funding, setting a limit to individual or corporate donations and banning donations from foreign entities.
Political parties, it said, should also be compelled by law to submit sources of funds of over RM1,000 to the Election Commission (EC) yearly and provide evidence of how the donations were used.
“The accounts will be audited by the EC and made public on its website,” it said, adding that this would allow people to identity any conflict of interest as well as improve accountability.
It also asked for public campaign funding for all parties as this would reduce reliance on contributions from private entities and wealthy interest groups and for a review of electoral rules.