Existing laws to govern political funding until new Bill takes effect, says Kulasegaran

KUALA LUMPUR: While the proposed Political Financing Bill is still in the works, political funding matters will be governed by existing laws, says M. Kulasegaran.

The said Acts are the Malaysian Anti-Corruption (MACC) Act 2009 and the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Act 613).

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Legal and Institutional Reform) M. Kulasegaran said the Bill is still being studied and was being handled by the Human Rights, Elections and Institutional Reforms special select committee of the Dewan Rakyat (JPKP).

He said the committee met on Feb 29,2024 and several issues were raised.

Among them are the donation scopes for individuals and companies, public funding for political parties and the formula.

Kulasegaran then added that there was a comparison made on the draft Bill discussed at the JPKP meeting.

"It was deduced that a coordination measure is needed to scrutinise the Bill which fulfils the criteria such as public funding, such as those practised in mature democracies such as Denmark, Jerman, Japan, Korea and Canada," he said.

Kulasegaran said this during the oral question time in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (March 7).

"For that purpose, a detailed study will be done before the JPKP report is tabled and finalised and the recommendation on improvements are given to the government," he added.

He said it was timely for continuous measures to be taken in relation to political financing as it was in line with the commitment of institutional reforms mooted by the Madani government under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

He was responding to a question by Abd Ghani Ahmad(PN-Jerlun) on the status of the bill and whether it was targeted for tabling in the Dewan Rakyat.

On Sept 7 2022, the then government agreed in principle to a law on political funding when the Political Funding Bill was presented to the Cabinet.

Although a political funding law was mooted in 2016 by the then National Consultative Committee on Political Financing, it faced resistance from several quarters, including Pakatan Harapan.

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