Economist Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram today called for the establishment of a political financing system in Malaysia to ensure that political parties no longer need to get money from corporations or in an illicit way. [NSTP/NURUL SYAZANA ROSE RAZMAN]

KUALA LUMPUR: Economist Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram today called for the establishment of a political financing system in Malaysia to ensure that political parties no longer need to get money from corporations or in an illicit way.

He said there should be an alternative source of financing with very strict rules for political parties to adhere.

“This (political funding system) is very important if we are going to do anything about money politics and about politics and business, this is an essential condition,” he said in his keynote address at the “GE14 and The Year Since: Analyses and Perspectives” seminar at the International Islamic University Malaysia, today.

Also present was Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof.

Jomo, who is also Khazanah Research Institute senior adviser and was on the panel of the Council of Eminent Persons set up by the Pakatan Harapan to advise it following the coalition winning the 14th General Election in May last year, said the money politics practiced during the previous government needed huge amounts of financing.

He claimed that 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) were created to fund the General Election and win support from the rakyat (people).

He said the setting up of 1MDB was timely amid the Barisan Nasional’s (BN) bad performance in the 2008 General Election, purportedly due to the lack of funds.

“The whole point of ECRL was precisely to raise money for the last election, considering how it was rushed through Cabinet at the end of 2017 and in January 2018, ECRL started operations,” he said.

The new government, led by Pakatan Harapan recently decided to continue the ECRL project with the construction cost being reduced by 32.8 per cent, from the initial RM65.5 billion price tag to RM44 billion.