Malaysia takes major step towards political funding transparency

01 Nov 2023 04:35pm
Ramkarpal Singh - FILE PIX
Ramkarpal Singh - FILE PIX

SHAH ALAM - In a significant step towards enhancing political funding transparency, the Malaysia Ministerial Council has endorsed a policy framework developed in consultation with the Parliament Special Select Committee (PSSC) on human rights.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Legal and Institutional Reform), Ramkarpal Singh announced that the ministerial council has reached an agreement on the policy scope after considering political contributions and engaging various relevant stakeholders, including Member of Parliaments.

The policy scope draws upon the recommendations of the special committee on human rights and the people.

"The Ministerial Council has taken into account the recommendations of the PSSC on human rights, as well as the concerns expressed by the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim), in crafting a comprehensive and effective political fund control bill.

"The Prime Minister's Department, law reform, and institutions have already referred to this policy framework through the PSSC on Sept 13 in the Dewan Rakyat.

"The JKPK will conduct research based on this framework and propose improvements to the government, including any sensible suggestions from the JKPK," Ramkarpal said today.

Ramkarpal also noted that this initiative is a response to the input received from various political parties.

In addition to the PSSC's reference, it also considers the structure and maintenance of political parties.

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"This research pertains to political contributions and addresses the interests of political party leaders, representatives, and members from various ministries, departments, and agencies.

"A joint session with government departments and agencies was held on September 26, 2022.

"A subsequent joint session with party representatives took place on September 28, 2022.

"These sessions will continue as necessary to discuss the establishment of statutory committees within the context of the political and unity government," he said.

Ramkarpal stressed that the unity government will prioritise transparent and appropriate appointments, aligning with the government's objectives and the aspirations of the civil society in Malaysia.

He expressed confidence that this initiative will promote political accountability, integrity, and good governance.

He further highlighted the importance of ensuring that political contributions do not become a means for abusing power among political party members, as this could tarnish the country's reputation and disrupt unity within the government.

"Therefore, it is imperative to prioritise understanding, appreciation, and the practice of ethical conduct to eliminate corruption in the future," he added.

Ramkarpal noted that the policy and its scope are currently under review by the PSSC.

The committee is conducting enhancement sessions, and there is a question regarding the potential participation of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs) in these sessions.

"The process is still ongoing, and these enhancement sessions will continue for those invited, especially individuals and organisations with a vested interest in this field.

"The initiatives being undertaken need to be finalised, and we are in the process of accomplishing that," he said.