G25: Time to focus on Political Funding Bill

G25: Time to focus on Political Funding Bill
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KUALA LUMPUR (July 31): Parliament should give the Political Financing Bill urgent attention so that it can be passed quickly, said civil society organisation G25.

"It’s among the top institutional reforms that Malaysia must undertake to restore domestic and international confidence in the parliamentary democracy practised in Malaysia," it said in a statement on Sunday (July 31).

Last week, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Political Financing announced that it had submitted a private member's Bill to the Speaker's office on regulating political donations.

"This Bill is intended to avoid the abuses, especially the unethical and corrupt practices, when making political donations, including from foreign donors. The public has become more concerned about such unhealthy practices, as they hear the evidence revealed in the ongoing high-profile court cases regarding money flows to top political leaders.

The group also lauded the Dewan Rakyat passing the Constitution (Amendment) Bill (No. 3) 2022, which bans Members of Parliament (MPs) from changing parties.

"Party hopping is often done in expectation of being rewarded with ministerial posts, or being given appointments as ambassadors or chairmen and board directors of GLCs.

"As several politicians themselves are saying, the new law will stop making a mockery of the people’s choice, like what happened in the 'Sheraton Move' two years ago. A disgraceful move orchestrated by a number of MPs that, sadly, led to the downfall of a democratically-elected government — the Pakatan Harapan government. 

The group said the new law, which stipulates that an MP will lose his/her parliamentary seat if he/she joins another party, removes the incentive to party-hop for selfish reasons, as they will "think twice before taking the risk of not being re-elected" in fresh polls.

"As party hopping may also involve bribery and corruption, this law is an important step towards making our elections clean and respectable in the eyes of Malaysians, as well as internationally," it added.

On Wednesday (July 27), 209 MPs unanimously voted to pass the anti-party-hopping law, following the second and third readings. Eleven MPs were not present.

Under the Bill, any MP who leaves one political party and joins another party in the same coalition, or a party within a different coalition, will cease to be a member of the Dewan Rakyat.

Additionally, any MP who switches parties or leaves the party for which he/she was a candidate during the election to become an independent, will cease to be a member of the Dewan Rakyat and will have to vacate the seat.

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