Masing: Govt funding political parties a good idea, but must have taxpayers’ consent

Tan Sri Dr James Masing

KUCHING, Oct 6: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing agrees that the government should fund political parties, but only with the consent of the taxpayers.

“It would be a good suggestion that the government takes up the responsibility to finance all political parties.

“However, we must bear in mind that the money the government has is the taxpayers’ money. This could only be done if the taxpayers allow their money to be used for such a purpose,” said Masing, who predicted that most taxpayers would find it unacceptable.

Masing, who is Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president, was responding to a statement by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday that the federal government had yet to find a solution for political parties to finance themselves without inviting elements of corruption and lobbying.

Dr Mahathir thus sought the public’s opinion on how this could be done in a clean manner. He pointed out that there were suggestions to adopt Germany’s model, where government funds political parties to avoid elements of corruption.

Masing said it is a fact that political parties needed more money than non-governmental organisations (NGOs) of other nature. This has been the situation political parties in the whole world is facing.

He stressed that having the government to finance political parties was just one of the solutions, and taxpayers’ consent needed to be sought for it to be put into action.

Apart from the government funding political parties, he said another solution was private funding.

“If it is private funding, then transparency must be involved. That means whatever funding that any parties receive, the Election Commission must be informed to ensure that there is transparency,” said Masing. — DayakDaily