Dr M: Govt wants public input on how political parties should be funded

  • Nation
  • Friday, 05 Oct 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has not found a formula for political parties to finance themselves without inviting elements of corruption and lobbying, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

For this reason, they would like to seek public opinion on how political funding could be done in a clean manner, he said.

According to Dr Mahathir, political funding was necessary for political parties to stay afloat and organise programmes. However, donations and fundraising also sometimes opened up doors to corruption.

"We have stated that there would be no corruption in party management because the biggest corruption happens in political parties.

"But the fact is that political parties need proper financing. The meeting today could not decide on how political parties should be funded.

"We discussed the whole morning but couldn't find a solution.

"We will need to study how political parties can function without help from any parties," the Prime Minister said after chairing the Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting here on Friday (Oct 5).

Pakatan Harapan used to organise fundraising dinners, but this was no longer possible as they were now in power, said Dr Mahathir.

Recently, the government rejected a donation of RM100mil from a company to Tabung Harapan as it was obvious that the contribution came with an ulterior motive.

“We don’t want them to give money in the hope of getting something in return. That amounts to corruption," he said.

Dr Mahathir said there had been a suggestion that the government adopt Germany's political funding policy, whereby the government set aside an allocation for political parties so that they did not need not rely on donations.

However, noting that this might be considered unfair to taxpayers, he said the government would consider other alternatives.

"We haven't made a decision, (but) that was one of the alternatives we considered.

"But if you consider that it is unfair because voters have to pay for it (political funding), then we will consider alternatives, such as asking for donation but that opens the door to corruption," he said.

Other than political funding, the meeting also focused on the deaths of the six firemen who perished during a rescue operation on Wednesday (Oct 4). They were trying to find a teenager who had fallen into the disused mining pool in Taman Putra Perdana, Puchong.

Dr Mahathir pledged government aid for the victims' families and advised them to be patient.

"We state our sadness that these deaths happened. All of us send our condolences to the families," he said.

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