- IDEAS calls for release of the full ERC report and transparency in the Special Committee’s deliberations on the ERC’s recommendations
- IDEAS welcomes new study by Bersih 2.0 on public funding of political parties in Malaysia
- IDEAS urges consideration of public funding for political parties in Malaysia, as proposed in the report
Kuala Lumpur, 27 January 2021 –The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) urges the government to make public the full report presented to them by the Electoral Reform Committee. The Special Committee formed must also conduct their deliberations in a transparent manner. The report was submitted to the government in August 2020 and contains comprehensive reform proposals for the electoral system, which also includes political funding reforms.
“The public is entitled to know and participate in the discourse to reform our electoral system. The government should also provide a clear timeline in which the recommendations will be implemented and involve civil society closely. Any change in our electoral system is fundamental to our democracy and must be carried out with full transparency. Furthermore, with a general election potentially looming this year, it is important for these recommendations to be discussed and debated publicly,” comments Aira Azhari, Manager of the Democracy and Governance Unit at IDEAS.
Furthermore, IDEAS also welcomes the new study published by Bersih 2.0, “Public Funding of Political Parties in Malaysia: Debates, Case Studies and Recommendations.” As the paper shows, public funding of political parties has been implemented in many Westminster democracies before, to varying degrees. Although this model of political funding has not been discussed widely in Malaysia, Bersih’s findings reveals several advantages, the main one being that it reduces the influence of private individuals and corporations.
“In 2020, we held two workshops with youth wings of political parties to raise awareness on the importance of transparency in political funding. One of the proposals that was agreed upon by all participants was the need for some sort of taxpayer funded model to be considered for political parties in Malaysia. All participants expressed concern over the undue influence of tycoons and large corporations on their parties, which was the primary motivation behind their support for a public funding model. I believe that if this is indeed what political parties across the spectrum can agree upon, there is good reason to seriously consider public funding,” adds Aira.
Besides mitigating private individuals’ influence on parties, Bersih’s second recommendation that RM10 million be allocated proportionally to parties according to the number of female MPs it has is a good one. “As we are well aware, our Parliament currently only has 14.4% female MPs, which is not nearly enough. If this public funding model can incentivise parties to showcase more female candidates, and to allocate more resources towards training female political leaders, IDEAS definitely supports it,” concludes Aira.