Add public funding mechanism to Political Financing Act, urges Bersih

PETALING JAYA: The planned Political Financing Act should include a public funding component to minimise political parties' dependence on large corporate donors, says Bersih.

The election watchdog group said this meant this would not only regulate how parties get their money but also provide public funding based on their vote share in the last election.

It should also have a special fund for parties to increase women's participation in elections and representation in the Dewan Rakyat, said Bersih.

"With this (public funding) component, we want to minimise parties' dependency on large corporate donors who may try to influence government policies or have unfair access to government contracts," the Bersih steering committee said in a statement on Tuesday (Sept 19).

The statement followed the announcement by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said on Monday (Sept 18) that the Cabinet agreed to the enactment.

Bersih said the proposed law had been discussed before and delayed for too long and it was high time for it to be tabled.

"Now is the time for our nation to move one step forward to reform our political system," said Bersih.

It also noted that Azalina, during her speech in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday, said that the Cabinet had referred seven policy parameters to the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) on Human Rights, Election and Institutional Reform for its consideration.

"The seven policy considerations are welcomed but we hope that the Legal Affairs Division and/or the PSSC for Human Rights, Elections and Institutional Reform, will actively engage with all stakeholders before the Bill is tabled to Parliament, especially civil society organisations who have been actively campaigning and proposing details for a robust Political Financing Act," said Bersih.

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