Money and politics
The monetisation of politics remains a widespread phenomenon in Malaysia. Corruption in Malaysia took deep roots after political parties went aggressively into business during the rule of Mahathir Mohamad. It has seriously impacted democracy and the rights of voters to free and fair elections. Money contributes to the cancer of corruption.
"Money can disrupt the democratic principle of fair competition in elections and undermine proper political representation," read a 2011 Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) report submitted to the prime minister. "Problems arise when organisations with private agendas provide large secret funds to political parties/candidates and expect something in return, compromising the quality of government."
Among the reforms that have been proposed were a Political Parties Act, regulating money politics, restructuring the Election Commission to ensure its independence and reforms to the 1954 Election Offences Act. These reforms would have addressed the phenomenon of money politics in Malaysia.
It is a disappointment none of these reforms have been made before this election. The BN-led government lacked the political will to act on the allegations of grand corruption made against some BN leaders.
Under the Government Transformation Plan, TI-M had hoped that new laws would be introduced to regulate political financing to stop politicians from using their party's name to solicit funds. Currently, there are no limits to the amount of donations political parties and candidates can receive from special interest groups. There is also no requirement for public disclosure of such contributions. Some of the donations are channelled directly to individual politicians instead of to their party.
To begin with, political leaders must submit themselves to scrutiny. Cabinet and state ministers should agree to a mandatory declaration of assets. Currently, there is no law stating a political leader should step...
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