The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) welcomes the call by Negeri Sembilan assemblyman Anthony Loke and Penang assemblyman Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq to give equal allocations to all state assemblypersons, irrespective of whether they are from the ruling or opposition party. These discussions happened during the respective state budget debates this week at the Legislative Assemblies and shows the need for a legislation to institutionalise such important developmental allocations to benefit all constituents.
Equal allocations are a sign of political maturity and an acknowledgement that all constituents are important and should benefit from these funds, not just those who voted for the government. Currently we have seen positive steps in this direction with Perak announcing equal allocations for their assemblypersons regardless of party affiliation. Equal allocations have also been promised at the Federal level under the current MOU for Political and Transformational Stability to all government and opposition Parliamentarians. However, this only involves the signatories to the MOU, leaving out parliamentarians from other political parties such as PEJUANG, Warisan and independents. Later after this issue was raised, Deputy Minister Dato’ Mastura Mohd Yazid announced that it would also be extended to MPs NOT involved in the MOU but only for the period of Sept-Dec 2021. To a lesser extent, Perlis and Johor do provide allocations to all their state assemblypersons but the government representatives are given a larger share.
BERSIH reiterates the state assemblymen’s call for equal allocations for all assemblypersons and also Parliamentarians. We urge Perikatan Nasional (PN), Barisan Nasional (BN), Pakatan Harapan (PH), Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) dan Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) to follow in the progressive steps of their peers in granting equal allocations. We also further challenge all states and the federal government to step up to the next level by legislating to continue the practise of equal allocations. Undertaking such progressive and reform-oriented measures highlights the parties’ competitiveness and the fact that they are committed to putting their money where their mouth is.
Besides equal allocations, we hope to see the following in the legislation as well:
– Listing of the allocations in the annual state and federal budgets
– The stipulation of key criteria to determine the amounts and variability (if any)
– Guidelines for documentation of allocations and expenditure for purposes of transparency as well as;
– Corrective measures in the case of abuse of these funds for personal gain or other reasons
Constitutional allocations have long been used as a political tool by governments to incentivise party hopping which indirectly punishes the constituents who voted for opposition candidates. This is a real shame and indicates a lack of regard for good governance on part of the winning party. As Malaysia moves out of a single party dominated landscape towards coalitional governments or even possibly minority governments, political parties and even the rakyat will only stand to gain from the legislation of such measures.
The Steering Committee of BERSIH