NGOs call for equitable CDF distribution to all MPs

21 Jan 2022 02:25pm
Bersih 2.0
Bersih 2.0

SHAH ALAM - The Coalition for Clean and Fair Election (Bersih 2.0) and the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) have called upon the government to distribute constituency development funds (CDF) equally based on constituency needs to all members of Parliament (MP) in the next round of CDF disbursements.

The non-governmental organisations (NGO) had in a joint statement said in light of the recent flood situation, all MPs regardless their political affiliation should get these funds to address the issue.

“The floods that have plagued Malaysia for the past one and a half months presents a strong case for why all MPs regardless of political affiliation should get these funds to address the floods and post-flood situation, the coordination of aid to the victims, and the long-term planning of flood disaster management in their constituencies.

“CDFs, or more commonly known as allocations for MPs or ADUNs (state assemblymen), is a type of allocation to support development and welfare projects in constituencies.

“CDFs in Malaysia are notorious for being used as political tools to reward government MPs and punish opposition MPs,” they said.

They said the disbursement should be made transparent and accountable to prevent mismanagement of funds.

They said the special parliamentary sitting that has been called on Jan 20 to discuss matters of national interest presents an excellent opportunity to rethink the way in which CDFs are disbursed.

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Since some areas were affected more seriously by the floods than others, they said it was reasonable to allocate more funds to those areas.

“As such, If CDFs are to be allocated based on needs, the distribution formula and final amount given must be disclosed to the public through guidelines published by the Implementation and Coordination Unit (ICU) of the Prime Minister’s Department.

“Apart from the disclosure requirements, we urge MPs to also take the initiative to be transparent regarding the amount they received and how the money is being spent,” the NGOs said.

They said political affiliation of the MPs should not be addressed for the disbursements of CDF as it was not only unjust, but it also perpetuates incumbency advantage and allows for patronage.

The NGOs said based on the information they received, under Ismail Sabri’s government, opposition MPs under Pakatan Harapan were given about RM500,000 while MPs that support the government were given something to the tune of RM3.8 million in 2021.

“MPs that did not sign the MoU, such as Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman from the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA), have purportedly gotten nothing thus far,” they said.

They said the government had in the 2022 Budget allocated around RM2.2 to 2.5 billion for the CDF and it was based on the amount for grants allocation under the ICU and the allocation for the ‘Projek Khas’ and ‘Projek Mesra Rakyat’ under the Prime Minister’s Department.

They said each MP would receive between RM9 million and RM11 million if the distribution was made equally taking into account the amount can be used to expedite assistance to heavily affected areas.

“In order to ensure that equal distribution of CDFs and explicit reporting procedures will continue to be administered in the future, there is a need for the legislation of a CDF law to be implemented in the country,” they added.