PETALING JAYA: The government has been urged to establish a Charities Commission in response to growing calls for increased transparency and accountability in managing charity funds.
Wong Poai Hong, executive director of Childline Foundation, said such a commission would instil greater public confidence in making donations to charitable causes, as it would serve as a regulatory body overseeing donations and funds for NGOs.
She said NGOs could also be required to follow key performance indicators set by the commission, in order to obtain government funding for their projects.
Companies and the general public would have greater confidence in donating money to charities knowing the commission would oversee accountability for the collection and disbursement of funds, and ensure the funds are spent on projects with a positive impact on society.
At present, the Registrar of Societies holds NGOs accountable for their operations.
Wong said an independent Charities Commission would solely oversee a more systematic system for the collection and disbursements of funds and would be in line with international practices, such as the United Kingdom’s Charities Commission and Singapore’s Community Chest.
Previously, Bukit Aman commercial crime investigation department director Ramli Yoosuf called for NGOs collecting funds for humanitarian causes to be scrutinised and audited, following complaints about the legitimacy of some groups.
Ramli said these NGOs should be regulated by a government agency to ensure the funds collected reach the intended recipients.
Malaysian Mental Health Association president Andrew Mohanraj backed the call for a Charities Commission, saying legitimate charities would benefit by being featured in the commission’s directory, making it easier for donors to identify organisations aligned with their preferred causes.
James Nayagam of Suriana Welfare Society said setting up the commission would help ensure that NGOs registered with it are credible, accountable and transparent in their operations.