NGOs: System needed to regulate political donations and gifts

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 28 Jun 2018

PETALING JAYA: Policies are needed to regulate political donations and gifts, according to non-governmental organisations.

Bersih 2.0 acting chairman Shahrul Aman Mohd Saari (pic) stressed the importance of transparency in a healthy democratic country.

"Things should not be hidden under the carpet. Corporations have guidelines on receiving money and gifts, I think politicians should, too," Shahrul told The Star on Thursday (June 28).

He said that Malaysia should look into setting up a system where politicians have to declare a donation or gift above a certain amount.

"We need to look into setting up a workable system, something that will suit the conditions in our country," he said.

"Any donation received cannot go into a personal account, and there must be documentation or receipts for all contributions," said Shahrul.

Shahrul said that the public must be firm in saying no to money politics.

"We must not let it become a culture, we must not let it become part of the electoral process.

"Let us keep the moral high ground and ensure elections are free and fair," he said.

Transparency International Malaysia (TIM) president Datuk Akhbar Satar called for a Bill to be tabled in Parliament that will look at regulating political donations and gifts.

"Political donations don't only happen during the elections. Currently, there is the possibility of politicians misusing money," he said.

"For example, if RM5mil is donated, perhaps only RM3mil is used for party business and the remainder RM2mil is pocketed. There is no system to monitor the donated money," said Akhbar.

Akhbar said that having a law to address this issue is the first step, but enforcement is equally important.

"Frankly speaking, the law alone is not enough. All laws must come with proper enforcement," he said.

"We need properly trained people to enforce this law, and ensure there is no element of corruption," added Akhbar.

On politicians receiving gifts, Akhbar said that a limit should be set on what gifts they can accept.

"The limits should be clearly defined, so that politicians don't find loopholes," he said.

"If the gift is above the limit, they should declare it.

"Because at the end of the day, Malaysians want accountability and transparency, and for people to answer for their actions," said Akhbar.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad imposed a no-gift policy for ministers, deputy ministers and political secretaries.

Dr Mahathir said gifts should only be limited to flowers, food and fruits.

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