Govt looks to tabling political funding bill in October

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PETALING JAYA: The government is hoping to table the political funding bill in the Dewan Rakyat in October, says law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

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According to a report by The Star, Wan Junaidi said the bill was “in the pipeline” with Putrajaya working on tabling the proposed law in the lower house’s October meeting.

He said the bill was Putrajaya’s own initiative to boost transparency, governance and accountability, pointing out that the law was not mentioned in the government’s memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Pakatan Harapan.

Political funding, or political financing, refers to how political parties and individual politicians raise money for election campaigns, daily operations and other activities.

A political funding law regulates how parties and politicians receive and use money by ensuring disclosure of the source of funds and donations as well as the amounts received.

Proponents of the law argue it is essential for holding political parties and politicians accountable, ensuring transparency over funds and preventing misappropriation, bribery, fraud or abuse of power where funding is concerned.

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Calls for such a law have been repeatedly made by civil society and figures across the political divide. A draft for the bill had even been prepared when Najib Razak was the prime minister.

Political economist Edmund Terence Gomez previously said that in 2015, a Cabinet committee was formed to prepare such a bill, after the 1MDB scandal broke and it was disclosed that foreign funds had been transferred into the bank account of a sitting prime minister.

Several NGOs, led by the G25 group of prominent retired civil servants, had also presented suggestions for this legislation but, although a draft was prepared, a bill was not tabled in Parliament.

Pakatan Harapan was supposed to table a similar bill after taking power in 2018 but did not do so before the change in government occurred in 2020.

In May, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government had agreed in principle to a political funding bill.-FMT


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