Take same action for Political Financing Bill as Anti-Hopping Law

A Private Member’s Bill has been submitted to the Dewan Rakyat secretary on July 13 for the Bill to be debated in the Parliament

by ANIS HAZIM / pic TMR FILE 

THE All-Party Parliamentary Group on Political Financing urged all political parties to take similar actions in introducing the Political Financing Act as they did to the Anti-Party Hopping Law.

The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) CEO Dr Tricia Yeoh, who is part of the group, hopes the Political Financing Bill will be presented in Parliament before the 15th General Election (GE15) in July 2023 — according to the GE14 schedule.

“We think that the anti-hopping law — which has been approved especially in a bipartisan manner — shows a good practice and can be exemplified for other legislation needed to ensure that state institutions function well based on parliamentary democracy,” Yeoh told a virtual media briefing on the Political Financing Bill recently.

On July 28, the Dewan Rakyat passed the historic Anti-Hopping Bill through a bloc vote which is expected to take effect from the first week of next month (September), according to the de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

Meanwhile, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Political Financing has submitted the Political Financing Bill as a Private Member’s Bill to the Dewan Rakyat secretary on July 13.

“We strongly believe that it is in the best interest of all political parties in Malaysia for this Private Member’s Bill to be tabled and debated in the Parliament.

“We also urge senior leadership in all political parties to lead the conversation on how greater transparency can be introduced in managing their party’s finances,” she added.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Political Financing chairman Ahmad Fadhli Shaari, who is also Pasir Mas PAS MP, said the group is encouraged to learn of the recent developments that support the tabling of the Bill.

“The announcement by Wan Junaidi that the Special Cabinet Committee on Corruption is drafting a policy scope for such a Bill signals a positive commitment from the government on this matter,” Ahmad Fadhli said.

Notably, the Bill aims to regulate political parties’ sources of funding either through public funding or private donations to curb corruption, provide a level playing field during elections, strengthen transparency and make the financing politics more accountable.

The group comprises nine members including Ahmad Fadhli, Fahmi Fadzil (PKR-Lembah Pantai), Wong Shu Qi (DAP-Kluang), Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau (Upko-Tuaran), Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah (Bersatu-Indera Mahkota), Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir (Pejuang-Jerlun), Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan (Umno-Pontian), Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Muda-Muar) and Larry Soon (PBM-Julau).

Other NGOs and organisations that are working with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Political Financing include the Malaysian Bar Council, the anti-corruption group Rasuah Busters and the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism.