Unfair to give opposition MPs less funds, says NGO

ENGAGE chairman Thomas Fann says Pakatan Harapan gave the impression that it would provide equal funding for all. (Facebook pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: A pro-reform NGO is unhappy that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government is giving PH parliamentarians a RM500,000 allocation but only RM100,000 for opposition MPs.

Thomas Fann, the chairman of ENGAGE, acknowledged that this was an improvement over the former Barisan Nasional (BN) government, which had not given any allocations to the opposition at the time.

However, he added: “Shouldn’t all MPs be accorded the same treatment and dignity befitting their office regardless of which political party they belong to, simply for the fact that they were elected by their constituents to represent them?”

Fann said PH had, in promise 16 of its manifesto, pledged to provide funding to all MPs based on a transparent formula to enable them to carry out their constituency responsibilities and run their service centres.

“While it is not stated that equal funding will be provided, it didn’t say otherwise either, thus giving the impression that it would be.

“Further, as the heading for promise 16 is to ‘Restore the Dignity of the Parliament’, we ask the question if it would be possible to have dignity without equality.”

He urged Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to give full details on the matter as his brief announcement yesterday on the allocation for MPs “may not have conveyed the whole picture”.

“Surely having been on the opposition bench till the momentous 14th general election, the new PH government would have felt and understood the injustice of being deprived of fair treatment by the BN administration.

“Now that PH is in a position of power, would they want to be unjust in their treatment of the opposition?

“It would augur well for the new government to send a message to Malaysians that they are committed to rebuilding our nation on the foundation of a new political culture of fair play and respect for the august House, putting an end once and for all the undemocratic punitive politics of BN.”

He added that PH had a moral duty to show how a democratic government should behave, by being a government for all, whether the people had voted for PH, BN, PAS or any other party.