Pakatan, too, must come clean on ‘covert funds’

UM Professor Terence Gomez says monetisation of politics is a dangerous trend and little has been done to curb it.

(Free Malaysia Today) – Just like Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Rakyat must be honest about its funding if it wishes to see true reform of an election system marred by money politics.

Professor Edmund Terence Gomez of Universiti Malaya claimed that the opposition has so far failed to come clean on the source of its finances, saying such practices is a major hindrance to having a clean election.

“I have met with Pakatan leaders and told them that they must disclose their funders. They said they can’t do that or BN will go after them (funders). Fair enough.

“But when I asked them about covert funds, they were silent,” he told about 200 students at the Parliamentary Elections and Funding forum held at Sunway University here.

Gomez said Malaysia is witnessing increased “monetisation of politics” and widespread allegations of “covert funding” of political parties and politicians in an attempt to influence policymakers for vested interests.

This included possible funding by “the underworld”. “This is dangerous. Whoever funds them have control over them,” he said.

Malaysia is also among the few countries in the world where political parties are allowed to have extensive involvement in businesses.

The ruling coalition is known to appoint close associates to key positions in government-linked companies while top corporate figures are known to have close relations with leaders from the ruling parties

This creates a deep conflict of interests and corruption is rife where politicians fight for high positions in order to dictate policies to profit and finance their war chest to maintain power.

Gomez also spoke of “secret” or “special” funds by top politicians which should be outlawed.

He cited the admission by Dr Mahathir Mohamad who confessed in his blog that he held RM1.4 billion in cash and assets to finance BN’s election machinery when he was prime minister.

“And RM200 million from the amount was in cash. Look at the kind of money we are talking about,” said the political scientist.

There are also allegations that Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has similar “secret funds” and although the court had cleared him of the accusation, the stigma remains as nothing had been done to curb its existence, added Gomez.