Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan said the proposed piece of legislation is currently still being worked on. NSTP file pic

KUALA LUMPUR: The law to regulate political funding is unlikely to be tabled in Parliament anytime soon.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan said the proposed piece of legislation is currently still being worked on.

"It wont be tabled the year as it is quite a big Act and it requires a lot of effort.

"It is not a simple Act and is also a completely new Act," he said after delivering his opening remarks at the Democracy in Southeast Asia: Achievements, Challenges and Prospects, event, here today.

Elaborating on the progress of the proposed piece of legislation which has been dubbed 'Political Donation and Expenditure Act', Low said a technical committee is currently studying the details, with the next step being the feedback from the Attorney-General's Chambers.

"We have also consulted the public, interest groups and political parties.

"But it will not be in time for the coming general election.

"For the 14th General Election, there are existing Acts in place under the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission ). Those will be put to use," he said.

He said in certain countries, its citizen feel that there should not be any private funding involved when it comes to elections and the question is whether Malaysians would accept this.

"If we go for that sort of formula, with no private funding allowed, we need to depend on solely in state funding.

"Malaysians are not ready to accept that and may not be willing to agree for State funding to be channeled as political funding," he said.

Responding on whether travel allowances offered for voters amounted as bribes, Low said it depends on the context of the offer and must be defined by why the allowances were offered.

"The questions is, does it influence someone to vote for you? It doesn't, isn't it?

"If someone says I need so much money to go back to my hometown to vote because I couldn't go back to vote for whatever reason, it doesn't mean the person is obliged to vote for that party or person who gave the money.

"Unless the person says to him, I'll give you the money provided you vote for me , then that's bribery.

"But if the enticement to vote for you is not proven, how can that be bribery?" he said.

The MACC yesterday said travel allowances to entice voters to return to their respective hometowns to vote was deemed as a bribe.

Its deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki said that in the eyes of the law, offering voters any form of inducement, be it cash or gifts, amounts to a bribery.

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