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