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LETTER | When long arm of law catches you, don’t call it political prosecution

LETTER | Political financing law should have been introduced before the last election when working on the anti-hopping laws, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Azalina Othman Said.

With such a law, political donations would have been regulated. In its absence, as rightly pointed out by Azalina, existing laws apply. This includes the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act (Act 694).

Take the example of Section 23, which provides for the offence of using office or position for gratification.

Any officer of a public body who uses his office or position for any gratification, whether for himself, his relative or his associate, commits an offence - Section 23(1).

The officer shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, to use his office or position for any gratification, whether for himself, his relative or associate, when he makes any decision, or takes any action, in relation to any matter in which he or his relative or associate has an interest, whether directly or indirectly - Section 23(2).

Under Section 3, “officer of a public body” includes a member of the administration, a member of Parliament, and any person receiving any remuneration from public funds.

Under the same provision, “gratification” includes donation and “associate” includes any organisation of which the person is “a person in charge or in control of” the organisation.

Simply put, a member of the administration who uses his office or position for a donation for an organisation of which he is in charge or in control, commits an offence under Section 23(1).

If there had been a political donation or funding law, like in Singapore with its Political Donations Act 2000, a donation would not have amounted to gratification prohibited by law.

Accordingly, a charge for use or abuse of office for a donation paid into the account of a political party looks legit.

When the long arm of the law catches you, don’t call it political prosecution.


The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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