The Coalition for Clean and Fair Election (BERSIH 2.0) welcomes the announcement by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department YB Mastura Mohd Yazid in Dewan Rakyat yesterday (23 September 2021) that the Federal Government will provide equal Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to all Members of Parliament (MP) including the Opposition. The fund will be disbursed from September to December this year.
This decision to allocate equal funding is in keeping with parliamentary and democratic spirit where elected representatives should be treated fairly to ensure they can serve their constituencies properly. This decision also shows the willingness of the Federal Government to take heed the views of BERSIH 2.0 and opposition parties to provide funding to all without discrimination. The Memorandum of Understanding for Transformation and Political Stability achieved by the Federal Government and Pakatan Harapan only agreed to give equal allocation to the parties who signed the Memorandum of Understanding.
Nonetheless, this positive move of giving equal allocations should not happen only because of the current political impasse or should it be dependent on the PM’s goodwill.
BERSIH 2.0 reiterates our call for the Federal Government to immediately enact a CDF Act to ensure equal and continuous allocations are provided to all the elected representatives regardless of who is the Prime Minister. Besides ensuring that allocations are given equally, the CDF Act must also stipulate the allocation formula for each constituency, the source of financing in the annual budget, the limit of the amount allocated for the CDFs annually, requirements for relevant agencies and lawmakers to publish key information about CDFs to the public, mechanisms for public participation in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of the CDFs and sanctions for misusing or embezzling the CDFs.
All the state governments should also follow the Federal Government and Perak State government who is the first state that gives equal CDFs to all the elected representatives. The state governments should provide equal funds to help their state assemblypersons to serve their state constituencies especially during COVID-19.
The reforms that are agreed between the Government and PH have been advocated by many organizations, including BERSIH 2.0 but it is not enough that they are implemented administratively at the government’s discretion. It has to be institutionalised immediately through the drafting of legislations so that there is a level playing field for all parties and they can be effective checks and balances while strengthening the institution of Parliament.
The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0