KUALA LUMPUR: The G25 group of eminent Malays is collaborating with lawyers to draft a Political Parties Bill to make political financing transparent and accountable.
The Bill is part of three major reform ideas put forward by G25 and 70 non-governmental bodies in its recent report on proposed reforms for political party funding.
“A team of lawyers is already working on a draft and if the Government does not table it in Parliament, we will do so as a Private Member’s Bill,” said Universiti Malaya political economy Prof Terence Gomez.
However, he said they had yet to discuss this in detail.
Prof Gomez, who has been instrumental in preparing the report, said the proposed legislation should ban secret and foreign funding for political parties.
Clauses under the Bill are the list of permissible and non-permissible donors, the disclosure of identities of donors giving more than RM50, donations to go straight to party accounts and receipts for all contributions.
“There should be a limit of RM10,000 per donor per year, RM100,000 per corporation a year and RM500,000 from a group of companies owned by the same majority shareholders.
“We also propose a cap of RM50,000 in annual donations for third party actors,” he said.
The report also addressed the need for more autonomy for the Election Commission – with stronger monitoring and enforcement capabilities – as well as the formation of a nomination committee for a more transparent selection of its members.
“It is also suggested that election commissioners should be appointed for a six-year term, which can only be extended once, and the age of retirement should be 70,” Prof Gomez said yesterday.
The third major reform proposed was the introduction of direct public funding to all political parties, which he said could stir controversy.
“Public financing can help reduce reliance on private sources and help level the playing field for new and smaller parties as well as independent candidates,” he added.
G25 has submitted its proposals to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Nov 27 and will wait until Jan 15 for a response.
G25 member and former Finance Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Sheriff Kassim said should there be no response, they would go on a roadshow.
“Of course, we will have to engage all levels of society, including the Opposition, and improve our reform proposals where necessary.”