Political funding: PH govt wants to avoid abusing taxpayers’ money — MP

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, Oct 6: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said the discussion on political funding and the attempt to seek public feedback on the issue represented Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) way to avoid abusing government resources.

“Funding for political parties has been a big issue for PH partners because one of the principles that we hold strongly to is that national resources or public funds shall not and will not be used for political advantages for any political party.

“That means, there will be no public funds directed or allocated to political parties,” Dr Yii told DayakDaily today.

He said due to this principle, it was crucial to find the most beneficial way, where political parties could be funded.

Dr Yii was responding to Pime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement yesterday that the federal government had yet to find a solution for political parties to finance themselves without inviting elements of corruption and lobbying, as reported by The Star publication.

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

Dr Yii, who is from the Democratic Action Party (DAP), said before DAP became a member of the ruling coalition, the party relied heavily on public donations and the sale of merchandise and newsletters.

“The advantage of doing so was public participation. However, the disadvantage or danger, especially now that we are in the government, is that big corporations and people with vested interest may pump in money with an ulterior motive.

“In order to find ways to fund our activities or even to fund for the upcoming election, we need to find a balance,” he said.

He claimed that under the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), public funds had been misused for political and party purposes. Government resources had also been abused, where government-owned assets such as four-wheel-drives (4WD) and helicopters were used for transportation and for movement of logistics during campaigning time.

“These are the things were are trying to avoid, and we have set our principle. I am sure there are models that have been under studies. As mentioned, they include Germany’s model and even New Zealand’s model, where the funding is provided (by the government) for the political parties. Public money is channelled into all political parties, not just the party in power.

“However, that again has its disadvantage and whether the public is agreeable to such a model is another question. That is why public feedback is a good thing,” he said. — DayakDaily