PETALING JAYA: A civil society group has called out MPs from the government and the opposition, saying there is a complete lack of political will from both sides to legislate political funding.
The Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) said a political funding bill must not be delayed any further as it is crucial to mitigate money laundering, foreign interference, and security risks in relation to political funds.
“Obviously, there is a lack of political will to implement this from both sides of the political divide.
“It is with utmost urgency that we stop delaying this bill from being tabled and passed in Parliament, especially with the 15th general election (GE15) around the corner,” Cenbet co-president Gan Ping Sieu said in a statement.
Gan, who is a former deputy youth and sports minister, pointed out that the National Consultative Committee on Political Financing had submitted its findings on a proposed Political Donations and Expenditure Act in 2016. He said a draft act had been completed in 2017.
He added that with no laws in place, political donations were completely legal unless they involved abuse of power or conflict of interest.
“I am of the view that the reasons behind objecting and delaying the introduction of a political funding act are self-serving,” he said. “No one is above the law, including lawmakers.”
Last month, prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption had agreed in principle to a political funding bill.
He said the proposal would be discussed with the Cabinet before further engagement with political parties.