Terengganu Umno has been told to lodge a report with the Election Commission and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission pertaining to the allegations of vote buying during the 15th general election.
Gratification and corrupt practices are offences under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 and the Election Offences Act 1954.
The MACC Act’s definition of corrupt practices include the use of money, donation, gift, loan, fee, reward, valuable security, property, financial benefit, or any other similar advantage.
The Election Offences Act defines corrupt offences as impersonating another voter to use his ballot paper, treating a voter to meals, drinks, or provisions; exercises undue influence on a voter, or carries out bribery.
The corrupt practices are punishable by fines, prison terms, and being barred from standing for legislative office for the next five years.
Yet the above legislation does not provide a legal definition on corruption or legislate on political donation. A law on political donation is therefore necessary.
Perhaps, we can refer to Singapore’s law, Political Donation Act 2011. The law is comprehensive enough to cover the areas that both the MACC Act and Election Offences Act may be lacking. It could be the law that controls the donation that is given, thus setting a controlled amount that could be considered a donation.
Adapting the act will be a good starting point for Malaysia to impose measures on those directly involved in the political processes so that they adhere to the requirements set under the political donation law.
Details of donation given must be publicly available by publishing them on the Election Commission website.
Political will is required on this, which will indirectly help the country combat corruption and seek accountability from our leaders.