KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1, 2015:

The G25 group of eminent Malays and another 70 non-governmental organisations (NGO) have submitted their recommendations on political funding reforms to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Nov 27.

Published with the help of Universiti Malaya Political Economics Professor Terence Gomez, the 52-page study contained proposals to make political funding more transparent and accountable thorough new laws such as the proposed Political Parties Act.

He said the group hoped to receive a response from the PM by Jan 15, but stressed that the deadline was not an ultimatum.

“We are aiming to get the recommendations implemented in six months’ time as the two-year duration proposed by the government is too long,” he told a press conference at the launch of the booklet entitled Reforms for Transparent and Accountable Political Funding in Malaysia at a hotel here this afternoon.

Gomez, who had worked closely with G25 on the proposal over the last two months, said the Political Parties Act can be tabled during Parliament in its mid-year session.

“The law should ban secret and foreign funding, limit political contributions and expenditure.

“It should also establish reporting requirements and public disclosure, introduce guidelines for a caretaker government and ban party ownership of business,” he said.

The move to empower the Elections Commission (EC), he said, was among the proposals for institutional reform which upheld its autonomy and impartiality.

“This would allow the EC to have stronger monitoring and enforcement capabilities.”

On a controversial aspect of the recommendations, Gomez said direct public funding should come from public coffers and was for all political parties.

“Public financing can help reduce reliance on private sources of funding, particularly the wealthy and corporate interest groups.

“This will help level the playing field for new and smaller parties as well as independent candidates,” he said.

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