Engagement session with MPs to get views on political funding Bill, says Wan Junaidi

PETALING JAYA: An engagement session will be held to get views from MPs on the proposed political funding law to be tabled in Parliament, says Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

“We will be holding an engagement session with government and Opposition MPs on Sept 28 to get their views on policy matters of the Political Funding Bill which is to be enacted,” he said.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Parliament and Law added in a statement Saturday (Sept 24) that the session will be held in Parliament building at 2.30pm next Wednesday.

So far, Wan Junaidi said that engagement sessions have been held with non-governmental organisations such as IDEAS and the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) as well as academicians.

He added that similar engagement sessions will also be held with government agencies and departments on the proposed law.

“The government is confident and remains committed that the Bill will be tabled in the coming Parliament meeting for its first reading in early November and that it will be read for the second time at the end of that month,” he said.

The Dewan Rakyat will convene on Oct 3 and will be in session till Nov 29.

He said that the National Centre for Governance and Anti-Corruption (GIACC) has readied the scope and parameters of the proposed Bill which has been submitted to the Attorney General’s Chambers for scrutiny before the Bill is tabled.

Calls by civil society for laws on political funding have grown louder in recent months, particularly in light of several high-profile court cases linked to “political donations”.

Although political funding laws were first mooted in 2016 by the then National Consultative Committee on Political Financing, they received resistance from several quarters, including from Pakatan Harapan.

The Committee had come up with 32 recommendations to address the lack of laws on transparent political funding, including the creation of the office of the controller of political donations and a ban on cash donations from foreign sources.

However, the proposed Political Donations and Expenditure Act did not make it to Parliament before the 14th General Election in 2018.

In 2019, the Pakatan administration intended to table laws on political funding but could not do so after the government collapsed in February the following year.

Currently, there are no laws to regulate and monitor political funds, although there are limits on campaign spending by candidates – RM200,000 for federal and RM100,000 for state elections.