The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) welcomes the various efforts of the Pakatan Harapan government to address corruption and root out abuse and misuse of power for personal gains through the founding of the National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption (GIACC), asset declaration by ministers and top government officials and the drafting of a Bill on Political Financing.
To this end, BERSIH 2.0 calls on the Cabinet Select Committee on Anti-Corruption (JKKMAR) and the GIACC to consult various stakeholders on the review, amendments and drafting of legislations as well as effective enforcement to ensure comprehensive solutions that will promote accountability, transparency and responsible spending of government funds.
BERSIH 2.0’s has consistently demand for reform in political financing since the BERSIH 5 rally in 2016 to end money politics in the country. It is high time for the country to put in place a Bill on Political Financing to introduce transparency in political financing and establish rules on access to political funding, limits on contributions, expenditures, disclosures and reporting and strengthening the monitoring and enforcement capabilities of the Election Commission.
The Bill should act as a measure against the appropriation and misuse of funds belonging to the government by political parties, as in the 1MDB scandal where public funds were allegedly siphoned by UMNO for electioneering during the 13th General Elections in 2013.
In particular, the Political Funding Bill should ban secret and foreign funding, party ownership of business, donation of Government Linked Companies to political parties. It should limit contribution to prevent political parties’ over reliance on wealthy and corporate interest groups that donate with expectation of political influence in return in government policies and development projects.
BERSIH 2.0 also recommend that the asset declaration of ministers, deputy ministers, political secretaries and top government officials should be made public instead of only to the GIACC. Such public disclosure would enable public members to help the new government to monitor and fight corruption and money politics.
BERSIH 2.0 recognises the importance of coordinating the efforts of different government agencies in fighting corruption and the initiatives to bring Good Governance Department, the Malaysian Institute of Integrity, the Public Complaints Bureau and the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) under the umbrella of GIACC. We suggest the GIACC to work closely with the EAIC, similarly with the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC), instead of placing it under GIACC. This would allow the EAIC to operate independently given the nature of EAIC’s mandate which is to independently monitor and investigate matters pertaining to the integrity of government enforcement agencies and report to the parliament.
As we come together to celebrate and turn over a new page in history, BERSIH 2.0 hopes that these reforms also make space to allow for the political participation of ordinary citizens in fighting corruption and monitoring political spending.