The government needs to enact a law to regulate funds for political parties, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan said today.
The Pontian MP said a Political Funding Act would enhance transparency as the political parties would be required to disclose fully the source of the funds.
“Malaysia needs to have a Political Funding Act. Recipients must know the origin of the funds. The giver must also inform the origin of the funds,” he tweeted.
His remarks were in response to news reports on yesterday’s Court of Appeal judgment on the high-profile RM192.9 million forfeiture case linked to the 1MDB financial scandal that the public prosecutor sought against Umno, Wanita MCA and seven others.
A three-judge panel in the appellate court upheld a High Court decision that denied the government the right to claim the money from the nine parties, including the political parties.
On June 19, the High Court had dismissed the government’s application to forfeit RM192,965,413.61 belonging to Umno; Wanita MCA (RM300,000); Perano, a company that sells hijabs, and Binsabi Sdn Bhd which supplies tents, involved RM337,634.78 and RM827,250 respectively; Habib Jewels Sdn Bhd (RM100,000); K&Z Enterprise Sdn Bhd (RM138,359.60); Kedah Umno Liaison Committee (RM1.05 million) and Hattatex Trading (RM111,590).
The Court of Appeal judges ruled that High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan had not made an error in his judgment as the prosecution failed to prove that the money, which had been given to the nine parties by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, originated from 1MDB.
Najib has been found guilty of misappropriating RM42 million in public funds in a former 1MDB subsidiary, SRC International Sdn Bhd and sentenced to 12 years’ jail and fined RM210 million in July last year but is appealing that decision.
The Pekan MP’s 1MDB trial is still ongoing.
Ahmad said the money to the political parties disbursed by Najib ― who was at that time the Umno president and Barisan Nasional chair ― had been clearly disclosed as a donation by the King of Saudi Arabia.
“The RM642 million was a donation by the King of Saudi Arabia. So why should it be seized, compounded and taxed? We need to be fair in everything,” he tweeted.
The Pakatan Harapan government had tried to introduce a similar Bill before its collapse in February 2020.
In October 2019, then law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong ― who has since passed away ― said the Political Funding Bill would be tabled in Parliament in 2020, pending feedback and suggestions from the ministries.
Liew said the Bill would focus on the regulatory aspect of political contributions, which is fundamental in efforts to eliminate corruption and create a corruption-free ecosystem among future generations based on the principles of transparency, accountability and integrity.