Malaysia May Bar Political Donations From Government Companies

  • Prime Minister Najib embroiled in foreign donation scandal
  • Committee plans new rules to regulate political funding

Malaysia may bar government-linked companies and those stand to benefit from public contracts from making political donations, in an effort to tighten rules on such funding before the next election.

A committee looking at the matter may also recommend that private donations from abroad be prohibited, even if the money is held by Malaysians, said Paul Low, minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. The committee aims to complete a report by July, he said.

“The key criteria is to determine the extent of conflict of interest,” Low told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

The move to streamline donation rules comes after a year of funding scandals in the country, and before an election due by 2018. Prime Minister Najib Razak was cleared in January of graft after revelations that $681 million made its way into his personal bank accounts before the last election, held in 2013.

The government said the money came from the Saudi royal family and was a private donation, and that most of it was later returned. Najib has denied any wrongdoing.

The premier announced the formation of the committee in August.

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