Topic: Political funding
Coverage by: Free Malaysia Today
PETALING JAYA: A Court of Appeal verdict that quashed the conviction of a former minister for receiving RM2 million from a businessman is a major blow to the fight against money politics, an anti-graft group said.
The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center) said the verdict was a major blow in the fight against money politics, which is predicated on the close links between businessmen and politicians.
“Even if the RM2 million was for the by-elections, it far exceeds how much a candidate is allowed to spend in a campaign under the Election Offences Act 1954,” it said in a statement today.
It said, already there was little oversight, if any, on the massive amounts of money channelled from the business sector into the political system under the pretext of “political donations”.
“C4 Center is extremely concerned that this decision will embolden politicians to consolidate their links with businessmen and cement the practice of political donations even further,” it said.
The statement said urgent reforms are needed to ensure that the flow of money from business to politics is controlled and disclosed to the public.
“Without these reforms, this unchecked practice will continue to enable corruption and cronyism among our elected representatives. We cannot continue to let our democracy be destroyed by abusers of public office,” it added.
C4 Center urged the prosecution to appeal against the decision and continue fighting against the scourge of money politics.
Its response came in the wake of the appellate court’s decision earlier today allowing the appeal against the conviction of Tengku Adnan Mansor, better known as Ku Nan, for allegedly accepting RM2 million from businessman Chai Kin Kong five years ago.
The majority in its decision said prosecution witnesses supported the defence’s contention that the money was a political donation.
Judge Suraya Othman said three prosecution witnesses – Chai, Tadmansori Holdings Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Hasbi Jaafar and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission investigating officer Muhammad Saad Bordani – gave evidence to support the contention that the money was a political donation.
She said trial judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan had failed to consider the evidence of the trio.
She also said Chai was the prosecution’s star witness and he was not re-examined on the political donation, and the judge did not direct his mind to this.
“We find such a failure a non-direction and misdirection which renders the conviction unsafe,” she said.