Make public the draft Political Donations and Expenditure legislation
17 October 2017
Lawyers for Liberty view with serious concern the proposed Political Donations and Expenditure legislation that is currently being drafted by the Malaysian Institute of Integrity (Integriti) and is expected to be completed soon.
The legislation seeks to regulate ‘political funding’ and little is known about its content other than the bits and pieces reported in the press.
It is completely unacceptable and shocking that such an important legislation with wide ranging repercussion on the political and possibly civil society landscape, was being drafted surreptitiously and without any consultation with the relevant stakeholders.
While there might be a need for some form of ‘political funding’ regulations that are in line with international standards and norms, it is certainly questionable as to why this legislation is suddenly being mooted, especially when there is no genuine consultation with the stakeholders.
Will this legislation be misused to completely outlaw foreign funding or place unreasonable restrictions on foreign funding as seen in states like Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Hungary and Russia, in order to clampdown on independent NGOs critical of the government?
Laws should not be drafted in secrecy and then rushed through Parliament. We therefore call for the draft legislation to be published in full to enable all stakeholders including political parties, NGOs and the press to meaningfully discuss and debate the matter.
Lawyers for Liberty