The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) and the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) call on the Prime Minister’s Office to distribute constituency development funds (CDF) equally or based on constituency needs to all Parliamentarians in the next round of CDF disbursements. The floods that have plagued Malaysia for the past 1.5 months presents a strong case for why ALL MPs regardless of political affiliation should get these funds to address the floods and post-flood situation, the coordination of aid to the victims, and the long-term planning of flood disaster management in their constituencies.
CDFs, or more commonly known as allocations for MPs/ADUNs, is a type of allocation to support development and welfare projects in constituencies. CDFs in Malaysia are notorious for being used as political tools to reward Government MPs and punish Opposition MPs. Based on the information we received, for 2021, under Ismail Sabri’s government, Opposition MPs under Pakatan Harapan were given about RM500K while MPs that support the government were given something to the tune of RM 3.8 million. MPs that did not sign the MoU, such as Syed Saddiq from Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA), have purportedly gotten nothing thus far. This goes directly against the promise made by deputy special functions minister Mastura Mohd Yazid in September 2021 that ALL MPs on both sides of the political divide would get equal allocations.
Developmental issues and natural disasters do not discriminate by race, creed or who you vote for; neither should the government’s aid of its people. Our research has shown that political affiliation must not be taken into account when disbursing CDFs as it is not only unjust, but further reinforces incumbency advantage and creates room for patronage. The recent floods that destroyed many households calls for a need to distribute CDFs equitably, and more importantly, for the disbursement to be made transparent and accountable to prevent mismanagement of funds.
The special parliamentary sitting that has been called on 20th January to discuss matters of national interest presents an excellent opportunity to rethink the way in which CDFs are disbursed. Since some areas were affected more seriously by the floods than others, it is reasonable to allocate more funds to those areas. As such, If CDFs are to be allocated based on needs, the distribution formula and final amount given must be disclosed to the public through guidelines published by the Implementation and Coordination Unit (ICU) of the Prime Minister’s Department. Apart from disclosure requirements, we urge MPs to also take the initiative to be transparent regarding the amount they received and how the money is being spent. They should not wait and rely upon official documents for accountability.
Based on the 2022 budget, the government has allocated around RM2.2 to 2.5 billion for the CDF. This is based on the amount for grants allocation under the ICU and the allocation for Projek Khas and Projek Mesra Rakyat under the Prime Minister’s Department. If distributed equitably, each MP should receive between RM9-11 million. This amount can be used to expedite assistance to heavily affected areas.
We also call for the legislation of a CDF law to institutionalise the above recommendations and ensure that all CDFs in the future will be distributed fairly and transparently and to minimise the room for abuse with explicit reporting procedures for accountability.
To support equal CDFs, sign this petition: https://www.change.org/p/malaysian-government-jangan-hukum-rakyat-lagi-gubal-undang-undang-peruntukan-wakil-rakyat-sama-rata-anwaribrahim-ismailsabri60-msabu-official-guanenglim-mohdshafieapdal?utm_campaign=cdf+-+fmt
For a more detailed study and recommendations on CDFs, download IDEAS and BERSIH’s report “Removal or Reform: Charting the Way Forward for Malaysia’s Constituency Development Funds (Peruntukan Ahli Parlimen dan ADUN)” here: https://www.ideas.org.my/publications-item/removal-or-reform-charting-the-way-forward-for-malaysias-constituency-development-funds-peruntukan-ahli-parlimen-dan-adun/
Released by BERSIH & IDEAS