The Federal and State Governments Need to Enact Equal Constituency Development Funds for All Elected Representatives

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) commends the Kelantan State Government for its political maturity. Under his leadership, Menteri Besar YB Dato’ Mohd Nassuruddin Daud, announced that the state government would provide equal constituency development funds to all Kelantan assembly members (ADUN), including the two Opposition ADUNs from Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Harapan (PH).

The provision of equal constituency development funds (CDF) regardless of political affiliation, as has been initiated by the Perak State Government under the leadership of YB Dato’ Saarani Mohamad since 2020 and is now followed by the Kelantan State Government, needs to be emulated and followed by other states. Political maturity, as demonstrated in Perak and Kelantan, is the way forward for more professional politics without punishing others based on their political ideologies.

The state governments of Kelantan and Perak should make history as the first states to enact laws for equal constituency development funds for all ADUNs.

BERSIH also urge the Federal Government as well as all nine states and territories of Sabah and Sarawak to immediately legislate and provide equal CDF to all their ADUNs, regardless of political affiliation.

BERSIH would like to remind PH and BN, the largest and second-largest blocs in the Madani Government, that in their last election manifestos, they promised to allocate equal CDF to all elected representatives. People have long awaited the fulfilment of this promise.

It is not enough for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to announce that the Federal Government is willing to grant allocations to Opposition Members of Parliament but he wants the Opposition Leader from Perikatan Nasional to come and negotiate with the Federal Government.

PH and BN are responsible not only for implementing this manifesto at the federal level and in all the states they rule but also for negotiating a package of equal CDF laws in the Federation and all 13 states, including those ruled by PN, GPS, and GRS.

The denial of equal CDF to constituencies won by opposition representatives is a form of punishment for the people in those constituencies. Even if the allocation is passed down through the ruling party’s area coordinator, who is often a potential candidate, it is still a gross misuse of government resources for partisan purposes.

In the most extreme case in Sarawak, government ADUN receive an allocation of a minimum of RM8 million per year while the opposition ADUN are given RM0, such situations cannot be accepted at all.  Even unfair allocations as practiced by the state governments of Selangor, Penang, Johor, and Pahang— where government ADUNs are given more allocations than the opposition ADUNs— is also an outdated practice that is not in line with the values of  a Madani Government.

BERSIH and IDEAS have carried out in-depth research on the provision of equal CDF and have prepared a generic draft bill for use by the Federal and State governments. We are ready to help the Federal Government, Kelantan, Perak, or any other interested state governments.

Released by:
The Steering Committee of BERSIH