DAP Does Not Oppose The Principle of Political Funding Reforms But Yet Cannot Fully Support The Proposed Reforms (e/c)

Press Statement By DAP Secretary-General And MP For Bagan Lim Guan Eng In Kuala Lumpur On 6.10.2016.

DAP Does Not Oppose The Principle of Political Funding Reforms But Yet Cannot Fully Support The Proposed Reforms Because It Legitimatises Money Politics As Well As Whitewash The RM53 Billion 1MDB Scandal And The RM4.2 Billion Donation Scandal By Absolving BN From All Responsibility.

DAP does not oppose the proposed political funding reforms by the National Consultative Committee on Political Financing (NCCPF) led by federal minister Paul Low but finds it difficult to support what is seen as a political gimmick, which does not contribute to greater transparency on the income and expenditure of political parties to check money politics.

Any proposed political funding reforms must ensure that the vested interests, the rich or criminal elements, can not impact negatively on the health of democracy and the political process by using money to buy influence. The proposed reforms, instead of preventing money politics, appears to legitimatise and institutionalise the culture of money politics by BN. What is most shocking is the removal of the limits on election campaign expenditures.

The current limits on campaign spending by candidates of RM200,000 for federal elections and RM100,000 for state elections, has been observed more by its breach than in its compliance. That limit has been abused by BN candidates 10 times over with impunity, because BN has abused its powers in not punishing the culprits. By allowing unlimited campaign spending where the sky is the limit, money politics and not people’s power will rule, making a complete mockery of democratic elections. There will no longer be free and fair elections but only bought elections.

The failure to ensure that a full public declaration of assets by candidates who will be leaders of the administration from the Prime Minister, Ministers, Chief Ministers and EXCOs, is disappointing. Worse is the failure to divorce politics from business by banning political parties from engaging in commercial entreprises. BN component parties are actively engaged in business amounting to billions of ringgit, which serves their political interests instead of public benefit.

Further DAP is concerned that the establishment of the Office of the Controller (of political donations and expenditure), with powers to confiscate donations if they are suspected to be from ‘dubious’ sources, will be used as a weapon against the opposition parties to cripple us financially. For too long, institutions which are supposed to be independent, have been compromised to benefit BN, such as the Election Commission and its ongoing proposed state-wide redelineation exercise.

Even though there are a few proposals worth considering, the entire reform plan does not serve to level the playing field between a wealthy BN and a cash-strapped opposition. Not only is this an exercise in futility to eradicate the culture of money politics, but it also serves to perpetuate the lie that there is nothing wrong in the 1MDB and donation scandals.

How can Paul Low endorse an individual politician to open his own bank account to collect political party donations? No democratic country in the world would sanction a personal bank account be opened to collect political donations.

For this reason, DAP does not oppose the principle of proposed political funding reforms but yet cannot fully support it, because it legitimatises money politics as well as whitewash the RM53 billion 1MDB scandal and the RM4.2 billion donation scandal by absolving bn from all responsibility. Political funding reforms should be more extensive and comprehensive to defeat and not institutionalise the culture of money politics in Malaysia.

LIM GUAN ENG

民主行动党秘书长林冠英于2016年10月6日在吉隆坡发表声明:

行动党不反对政治献金改革的原则,但是不能完全支持建议中的改革,因为它将合法化金钱政治,并且漂白一马公司530亿令吉丑闻及42亿令吉捐款丑闻,免除国阵在这些丑闻中的责任。

行动党不反对以联邦部长刘胜权为首的政治献金国家咨询理事会倡仪的政治献金改革,但是我们很难支持一项看起来是政治噱头的东西,并不会为政党在金钱政治的收入及支出带来更大的透明度。

任何关于金钱政治的改革必须确保利益集团,包括富有的人或犯罪分子,不会通过金钱发挥作用来负面影响健康的民主及政治过程。建议中的改革并不是要阻遏金钱政治,而是要合理化及制度化国阵的金钱政治文化。更让人惊讶的是,他们建议要废除选举开销的限额。

目前候选人的选举开销限额分别为国会选区20万令吉、州选区10万令吉,这项条文都已经被很多人视若无睹、任意妄为。国阵候选人的竞选花费超过限额的10倍都不会受到对付,因为国阵滥权在先、放任违规者。如果我们允许候选人无限制地花费在竞选,那么这个国家将是金钱政治做主,而不是人民力量做主,也将让我们的民主政治为笑柄。再也不会有自由公正选举,只剩下买卖选举。

上述改革无法确保未来政府领袖的候选人,上至首相,下至部长、首长及行政议员公开财产,已经非常令人失望。更糟的是,有关改革也无法将政治及商业切割,禁示政党参与商业活动。国阵成员党可以活跃于数十亿令吉的商业活动,导致他们为政治利益服务,而不是公众利益。

此外,行动党也非常关心负责控制政治献金及开销单位之成立,他们拥有权利在怀疑金钱来历不明的情况下没收捐款,这个权利将被利用成为武器对付在野党,让我们成为跛脚鸭。长久以来,那些自诩独立的机构,都已经向国阵的利益妥协,例如:选举委员会在全国选区重新划分所展现的。

虽然有几项建议值得考虑,整项改革计划并不能提供一个公平竞争的平争给富有的国阵及财务紧张的反对党。这项改革不仅无法消除金钱政治的文化,也将把谎话拗成真,一马公司及捐款丑闻也不再是问题。

刘胜权如何可以允许个别的政治人物开设个人银行户口来收取政党捐献?世界上没有一个民主国家会认可这种做法,将私人银行户口开放给政治捐献。

因此,行动党不反对政治献金改革的原则,但是不能完全支持建议中的改革,因为它将合法化金钱政治,并且漂白一马公司530亿令吉丑闻及42亿令吉捐款丑闻,免除国阵在这些丑闻中的责任。 政治献金改革必须更加广泛及全面的遏止、而不是制度化马来西亚的金钱政治文化。

林冠英

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