Laws needed to ensure political funding transparent
Posted on May 1, 2011, Sunday
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia needs laws to ensure all political funding is transparent, according to a member of the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board, Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas.
He said this was among the 10 recommendations by the board to the authorities, since there currently were no laws governing the political funding process in the country.
Megat Najmuddin, who is also the Malaysian Institute of Corporate Governance president, said almost all political parties were reluctant to even talk about the need to be transparent in matters of political funding, which was important to eradicate, among others money politics in the country.
He added that while there was a need to implement reforms in matters related to the political funding process, unfortunately there was no strong political will to implement the necessary measures to ensure political funding was transparent.
“You talk about transparency in all other organisations…GLC (Government Linked Companies), public listed companies and all our processes of governance, (but) why not in political parties? “How come there is no transparency in political governance.
I have seen the annual reports of some political parties.
It is very laughable in terms of transparency,” he said during a press conference at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Academy, here yesterday.
Among others, the board’s Terms of Reference are to advise the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on any aspect of the corruption problem in Malaysia and also to advise on policies and strategies of the Commission in its efforts to eradicate corruption.
Megat Najmuddin said that Malaysia should emulate Western countries which had laws on political funding that were so exact as to demand even a US$10 contribution be recorded.
“And the worst thing (here) is we don’t know where the money is coming from.
We don’t know how and where it is going.
And we don’t know how it is being spent, because there is no transparency.
“We want to know where the money is coming from.
For all you know it may be coming from the underground economy. We don’t want to be ruled by Mafia, because we all know the underground economy is big. It is perhaps even bigger than the real economy,” he said.
Megat Najmuddin also warned that failure to take a proactive stance to cut down on the cost of doing business and on costs of administration, as well as to plug all leaks and waste, could be attributed to corrupt practices and would ruin the country.
Megat Najmuddin also said that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his Deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin never interfered in the running of the MACC.
“The fight against corruption has been politicised… we don’t want it to be politicised. We are not politicians here in MACC.
Whatever decision we make, we make here.
There is no political interference at all… I can tell you that the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) is very, very careful about that,” he said.
Megat Najmuddin also said that the negative perception by the public about the MACC must be managed properly.
Megat Najmuddin, who is also a director of Petronas, said the national oil company’s money should be placed in a national trust so it would benefit future generations.
“We can’t go on like this. We have to cut down on costs, we cannot be living beyond our means.
We are not America,” said Megat Najmuddin, who noted that about 30 per cent of Malaysia’s budget was dependent upon Petronas revenues. — Bernama