Economist: Why is PH tiptoeing on political financing law?

(FMT) – A political economist has questioned the government’s commitment to ensuring transparency in political funding, saying it has shown it doesn’t consider it urgent to introduce the relevant law.

Edmund Terence Gomez, a Universiti Malaya professor, said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Hanipa Maidin appeared evasive when he spoke to him on the issue last Tuesday at the venue of an anti-corruption conference, where both had earlier addressed the audience.

He told FMT he didn’t get clear answers from Hanipa when he asked him at what stage Pakatan Harapan was in its deliberations on proposals for a law to regulate the financing of political organisations.

“But to be fair to him,” he added, “he did tell me that he was willing to confer with me on this matter at a later date. I hope he does.”

It has been nearly a decade since the public began hearing of a proposed law to control political financing.

In 2009, the Barisan Nasional government commissioned a committee to deliberate on a proposed bill for presentation to Parliament, but nothing apparently came from it until 2016, when the National Consul­tative Committee on Political Financing came up with 32 recommendations for the government to consider in addressing the lack of laws on political funding.

When the date of the 14th general election was announced, the committee was said to be still formulating a proposed law.

Last Tuesday, Hanipa told reporters the matter was still under discussion among parties in Pakatan Harapan, adding that a bill could be presented to Parliament before the next general election.

“Since the prime minister has agreed to this in principle, I don’t think it should be a problem,” he said.