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Thursday, 10 September 2015

‘Political funding reforms needed for fair elections’

KUALA LUMPUR: A coalition of 70 non-governmental organisations is urging the Government to take legislative reforms to legitimise political contributions.
Led by G25, the coalition said political funding reforms were needed to enable fair elections during national polls in 2018 and the Sarawak state election next year.
“It would also ensure that politicians can act without fear or favour and for all political parties to have equal access to acceptable financing resources.
“This is to promote an even playing field in federal and state elections,” G25 spokesman Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim told reporters here yesterday.
All 70 NGOs signed a declaration on Transparent and Accountable Political Funding as the Underlying Framework to Eliminate Corruption and Promote Clean Governance.
Mohd Sheriff said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had acknowledged the existence of donations from foreign sources to run elections.
“His statement confirms two issues – that there is an existence of secret political funds controlled by individuals or trustees, and access to phenomenal foreign funding,” he said.
The former Finance Ministry secretary-general said while the coalition welcomed the Government’s suggestion to introduce a political parties law, it should incorporate several aspects on political financing.
“The Act should ban foreign donations as these can interfere with the autonomy and sovereignty of domestic politics.
“It should also put a limit on donations by individuals and corporate bodies as well as capping funds from anonymous donors,” he added.
The coalition included Empower, Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham), Bersih 2.0, Islamic Renaissance Front, All Women’s Action Society (Awam) and Tenaganita.
Twenty leaders out of the 70 NGOs had attended the press conference to introduce the declaration.

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