Najib gets proposals for electoral reform.
KUALA LUMPUR: The federal government should provide funding for candidates seeking election to Parliament and state legislatures to improve transparency, accountability and fairness in political financing.
This was one of the proposals for electoral reform that Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) submitted today to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
It asked the government to implement the proposals before the 13th general election, which must be held by 2013.
“A formula could be worked out based on the following factors – urban, rural and number of voters,” TI-M said in a press statement.
It also proposed amendments to election laws to make it mandatory for party election expenses to be independently audited and to empower the Election Commission (EC) to investigate and verify the financial reports of candidates.
“Political parties should be required by law to make full public disclosure of the amounts and sources of their financing and expenditure,” it said. “There must be public disclosure and access to political party accounts.”
TI-M also recommended that there be a fixed maximum on contributions by individuals and organisations to political parties.
Ideally, it said, companies should be prohibited from making political donations as this was the best means of curbing those with private agenda to influence election outcomes.
“A list of non-permitted donors should be prepared. These should include government-linked corporations, non-citizens and foreign organisations.”
TI-M also called for fair and equal coverage for all political parties on all taxpayer-supported media, including TV, radio, the national news agency Bernama and websites.
“TI-M’s proposed reforms on political financing are supported by a wide cross-section of Malaysians and are crucial for the future of Malaysia,” the statement said.
It said its memorandum to Najib was based on its research into the state of political financing in Malaysia in 2009 and 2010.
The research included interviews with past and present politicians such as Dr Mahathir Mohamed and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and consultations with various stakeholders such as the EC, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), politicians, academicians, political analysts, companies, civil society and journalists.
The memorandum lists 22 proposed reforms to improve transparency, integrity and accountability in political financing.