Table political financing bill quickly, urges Bersih 2.0

Bersih 2.0 wants a fivefold increase in the current campaign spending limits of RM100,000 for a state assembly candidate and RM200,000 for a parliamentary candidate.

PETALING JAYA: Bersih 2.0 has renewed its call to urge the government to table the political financing bill as soon as possible.

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections said the Election Offences Act 1954 (EOA) must be amended and a new law on political financing enacted to regulate the two key areas of political financing — the source and spending of funds.

The electoral reform group said this will provide a level playing field for political competition and reduce the influence of money in politics.

It also referred to BN secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor’s testimony in the High Court that revealed how Umno raised funds for election campaigns through political donations.

It said this showed how vast sums of money are raised and spent in elections.

“At present, the EOA only regulates campaign spending by candidates during election campaigns. Spending by political parties and others, including those for the benefit of the candidates, are left largely unregulated.

“In addition, there is no regulation on political donations to political parties and candidates.

“Unregulated political financing not only enables loopholes for bribery and undue influence by interest groups, but also undermines public confidence in the integrity of elections,” Bersih said in a statement.

It said government-linked companies (GLCs), as custodians of public wealth, should be barred from donating to political parties or be involved in political activities.

Public funding for political parties should also be introduced to help reduce the reliance on private sources of funding, particularly the wealthy and corporate interest groups.

Bersih suggested that the current campaign spending limits of RM100,000 for a state assembly candidate and RM200,000 for a parliamentary candidate should be increased to a more realistic figure of RM500,000 and RM1,000,000 respectively.