Malaysia PM announces panel to guide funding amid political crisis

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak.
PHOTO: Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, under investigation for a 2.6 billion ringgit (S$894 million) donation deposited into his private bank account, on Friday announced a committee to set guidelines on political funding.

The National Consultative for Political Financing Committee will be led by two ministers and will ensure any money received for the purpose of politics is done so with "integrity".

"Now there aren't any regulations, so there's no benchmark as to what's right and what's wrong," Najib told reporters."With this we can show that we are practising the best practices." Malaysia's election law only stipulates a maximum amount candidates can spend during a two-week political campaign. There are no laws requiring political parties to divulge the source of their funds.

Najib has faced criticism from the public and within his party after a Wall Street Journal report in July said investigators looking into allegations of graft and financial mismanagement in debt-laden state fund 1MDB found that nearly US$671 million (S$941 million) was deposited into Najib's private bank account. Reuters has not verified the report.

Najib has denied taking any money for personal gain, saying the allegations are part of a malicious campaign to force him from office. 1MDB has denied transferring funds to Najib and an interim government report found nothing suspicious.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has said the money in Najib's account was a donation, and not connected to 1MDB.