On Nov 30th(Monday) Transparency International organised a workshop which focus on the vexed issue of political financing. A floated idea to allow state funding for election campaigns by candidates drew debate from the floor. However the show was stolen by SPR’s spokeperson Dato Seri Wan Ahmad doing a passing the buck show with MACC spokeperson over the issue of who should handle financial irregularities during elections!
While the EC is the body empowered by the Constitution to carry out the elections on a free and fair basis SPR claimed that it has no power to monitor and investigate financial irregularities during elections eg vote buying, abuse of state resources, making allocations/projects using government funds etc. MACC further claim that such offenses are not within its `prescribed list’ of offenses to take action. So who will deal with such offences mentioned in the Election Offences Act as punishable with harsh penalties and prison terms? With both sides trying to pass the buck Malaysians are not protected from the negative influence of such offenses!
On the Kota Siputih issue EC spokeperson try to justify its unwillingness to hold by-election after being noticed by Kedah Speaker by saying that they are not brainless entity to accept the instruction from the Speaker. However another speaker Dr Marvi disclosed an inconsistency in the EC’s conduct. When Berjaya party in Sabah used a pre-signed resignation letter of Pairin Kittingan to force a by-election the SPR held an election without asking if the Assemblyman did wanted to resign! In the event the voters returned Pairin to his Tambunan seat and even pulled down Harris Salleh state government in the subsequent state election, showing the depth of disgust the voters (and Opposition at that time) about the tactics of using pre-signed resignation letter to force resignation from a duely elected Assemblyman!
Pakatan party should reflect on if it is a good move to follow the despised BN’s tactics else where.
State finding for candidates/parties’ campaign was proposed to help ensure level playing field for candidates/parties. However some are worried that abuses can happen and smaller/new parties could be disadvantaged because the funding typically would be based on votes received at previous election.