SWP applauds effort to enact political funding legislation

Munan Laja

KUCHING, Jan 30: Stating that Dayak politics have been affected by money politicking over the years, Sarawak Workers Party (SWP) today announced its support for the introduction of new legislation to govern political funding.

This initiative has been listed as a top priority among the 115 initiatives under the newly launched National Anti-Corruption Plan 2019-2023 (NACP) yesterday.

SWP president Munan Laja opined that in Sarawak, non-transparent sources of political funding did little to curb possible elements of corruption.

“Political funding has been a disease for so long. Many of its sources, especially from those in power, are from corruption and abuses of power.

“Resources of the country were pawned to pay the givers of political funding. If political funding is not put to a stop, the country will be in a mess. A victory won this way is a shame to the nation,” he said in a statement today.

Munan was commenting on the NACP initiative launched by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Putrajaya yesterday. The plan includes the creation of a new law to govern political funding within two years, which will treat lobbying as an offence.

Under the proposed political funding law, parties will be compelled to disclose all their sources of funding, including donations, or they will be liable to punishment.

At the launch, Dr Mahathir was reported as saying that introducing new legislation on political funding would be challenging, but it had to be done to combat graft.

The Prime Minister’s Department will be the lead agency for the initiative.

Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Centre director-general Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed said the centre was in the final stages of discussion before the Bill could be drafted.

“SWP fully supports Tun Mahathir in the effort to curb corruption and money politics in the country, especially Sarawak, where Dayaks are the victims of money politics,” Munan said.

He suggested the country look at Germany’s political funding model, where the government gives funds to political parties for elections.

Political parties raise funds through a combination of membership fees, donations from individuals or companies and annual government subsidies.

Political parties in Germany are required to submit annual financial statements to the legislature, which will be published and made available for public scrutiny.

Such financial statements will contain information on the party’s sources and use of funds as well as its assets and liabilities.

“In our effort to curb political funding, Germany’s module should be given good food for thought so that political parties here can fight fairly and will accept the verdict if they lose,” Munan reckoned. — DayakDaily