Political funding scores ducks in watchdog’s inaugural integrity report

TI-M president Datuk Akhbar Satar said the scores should not be construed negatively but used instead as references and suggestions for future improvement. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
TI-M president Datuk Akhbar Satar said the scores should not be construed negatively but used instead as references and suggestions for future improvement. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — Four areas concerning political funding in Malaysia received zero marks in Transparency International-Malaysia’s (TI-M) first Business Integrity Country Agenda (BICA) report released today.

Each topic is scored from 0 to 100 by intervals of 25; 100 indicates that all requirements were met while 0 shows that none was met.

The four areas that earned the zeros were: Laws on political contributions, laws on lobbying, enforcement and public disclosure on political contributions, and enforcement and public disclosure on lobbying.

Putrajaya proposed to enact laws on political funding in 2015, but is yet to introduce any.

“One of the black spots is the issue of undue influence. At the moment, Malaysia has no laws whatsoever on political contribution or lobbying,” said TI-M president Datuk Akhbar Satar today.

“Rest assured that extensive deliberations are done prior to scoring. When we have no laws in place, how can we give any marks at all?”

However, Akhbar said the scores should not be construed negatively, insisting that they should instead be used as references and suggestions for future improvement.

On the public sector, he said after the launch of BICA report at the Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur that the public service must take the findings as a challenge to reform the current culture of complacency.

“A lot more can be done. Public sector must change this mindset that ‘I have done enough’.

“No change or improvement in the way we manage our business operations can be sustained if our attitude to good governance is out of step,” he said.

Akhbar said TI-M will send copies of the report, which consists of findings and suggestions on 51 different scoring areas, to all stakeholders including the government soon.

He again insisted that the report only contained suggestions for improvement, and said it was up to those mentioned to act on these if they saw fit.

The report drew from an extensive study conducted by a special research team led by Assoc Prof Dr Zaleha Otheman and scrutinised three major stakeholders — public sector, private sector and civil societies.

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