Regulating political funds good move if Najib sincere, says transparency watchdog

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 15): Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) has welcomed the prime minister's plan to set up a committee to study the regulation of political funds, but its president Datuk Akhbar Satar said it wants to first monitor the development of the committee.

He advised Datuk Seri Najib Razak to make sure he does not break the law that he helped to create.

"The prime minister must make sure that when the plan and laws on political funding are put into place in time to come, he does not break it.

"No point coming up with law and then breaking it," he told The Malaysian Insider.

He said the committee must also choose from the best models on political funding in the world and suit it to local conditions.

Akhbar said that in the past, TI-M had proposed political funding regulations to Najib, but while the Umno president was receptive to it, he did not follow through with them.

‎"One of our 22 recommendations included making it mandatory for disclosure of all sources of financing and expenditure by the political parties. This is indeed a right direction and approach that should have been adopted some 5 years ago.

"However, it is never too late to grasp the last straw before it breaks the camel's back," he said.

He said it was now important to address weaknesses in the current methods.

Akhbar said the prime minister must be sincere in wanting to fight corruption.

Najib yesterday announced the setting up of a national consultative committee on political funding to develop a plan to ensure transparency and governance over party funds.

He said he had mooted proposals to regulate political funding since 2009 but did not receive any response.

"This initiative was part of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and under a National Key Results Area (NKRA) to create an administrative mechanism," he told a press conference in Putrajaya.