Speaking to Malaysiakini, its president Paul Low said that such practices open up too much room for abuse.
“Receiving donations through individual bank accounts is absolutely unacceptable. It provides lots of room for fraud and fictitious claims. It can be abused,” he said.
Commenting on the corruption allegations involving Deputy Finance Minister Awang Adek Husin, Low said that it would still be difficult for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to prove a case.
“It would be hard to prove corruption as there are no regulations which say that politicians cannot personally accept donations,” he said.
Awang had yesterday admitted that he accepted cash donations in three personal accounts, but said that the cash was for welfare programmes in Bachok, where he is the Umno division chief.
The deputy minister said that he did not set up the accounts in Umno’s name as the money was “for the rakyat” and not the party, and that party rules do not encourage divisions from soliciting donations.
Awang (right) added that a special officer who handles the accounts keeps meticulous records of donations and what it is spent on, all of which he will give to the MACC, who are probing the matter.
However, Low said that even such detailed records can be “manipulated”.
“You can record that you bought shoes but how do you prove the shoes did not end up on your own feet? Or if a charity dinner did actually take place?” he asked.
Awang in position of trust and influence
He added that while he is not saying that Awang is guilty of corruption, good practice would have been to channel the donations to the party division.
“I know there is concern that the money will get lost if this is done, but (the politicians) can work out some sort of agreement with the party to avoid this.
“It would be like petty cash taken from a company, everything will be recorded,” he said.
Low (left) said this was in fact the recommendation made by the MACC in its annual report to Parliament this year.
He noted that it is even more pertinent for Awang to not receive money through a personal account as he is deputy finance minister.
“Even if he does not approve contracts, he is in a position of trust and influence. For his own protection, this practice must be stopped.
“How can anyone distinguish if the money deposited was just for charity, but for him to exercise his influence?” Low asked.
Pegawai Awang Adek Yang Mana Satu Urus Akaun Peribadinya?
Wira: This reminded me of Harun Idris, a one-time menteri besar of Selangor, who was jailed (in 1977) for corruption because he failed to distinguish what was rightly his money and the money belonging to Umno because they were in the same account.
Harun went to jail for his folly when Hussein Onn was the prime minister. Of course, we don't expect Najib, nor his cousin, to possess the same integrity and abhorrence to corruption as our third prime minister.
Akucina: Does Awang Adek have a licence to collect cash deposits? If not, he has contravened the Bank Negara ruling and should be charged with illegal deposit-taking and money laundering.
Secondly, the monies he received is considered as his income. Has he paid taxes for this income? LHDN (Income Tax Department) should investigate.