Umno veteran Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has asked the Election Commission (EC) to take control of all political funds to be used for election campaigns to ensure better monitoring of where the monies are being spent.
The Gua Musang MP said that the EC could then request all parties to submit proposals on an estimated amount that they would need for their campaigning, for any elections.
“The funds of political parties for election purposes should be managed by the EC. Under a law, parties should submit a proposal or an estimate as to how much they would need to spend for political activities during a by-election or general election.
“We could then police the amount of money used and how the money is obtained,” he was quoted saying by Free Malaysia Today at a public forum on political financing reforms.
The former finance minister said this move would prevent any politicians or political parties from abusing funds during any elections, adding that any additional sum spent beyond the initial estimate would then be charged back to said party.
To further discourage the misuse of funds, Tengku Razaleigh — or more fondly known as Ku Li — said that a candidate could be barred from the election should the EC detect an excess of funds had been taken, regardless if the said candidate won or lost the election.
Economist Edmund Terence Gomez, who delivered his point of view at the same forum said a system was needed to reflect the cost of political activities in each constituency.
He pointed out that for rural constituencies, the allocation of funds was too low after taking into account the challenges and expenses to travel to these areas.
“The amount of money needed for politicians to do constituency work is limited and does not reflect what is truly needed on the ground.
“We need to come up with a system which is fair so that politicians can serve their constituencies well,” he was quoted as saying, at the same time calling for transparency on the source of the monies to make sure there was no abuse.
The forum, which discussed the Malaysian-Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) controversy, corruption, and political financing reform, was organised by the Agora Society Malaysia and Rasuah Busters. – MMO