In the first twelve days of the period under monitor i.e. Feb 25-March 07, Barisan Nasional (BN) was projected to have spent a cumulative total of RM7.285 million.
This is based on Transparency International – Malaysia’s political parties’print media advertisement expenditures project which monitors 18 newspapers everyday.
According to the Election Offences Act 1954, a parliamentary candidate can spend only up to RM 200,000 while a state candidate, only RM 100,000 in total election campaign expenditure. This means BN’s 222 parliamentary candidates and 504 state candidates can collectively spend up to only RM 94.8 million.
Of this 94.8 million, 7.68% had been spent on print media advertisements thus far, after nomination date.
The 97 parliamentary candidates and 174 state candidates from *Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)* are collectively allowed to spend up to RM 36.8million. There were some advertisements by PKR that collectively added up to RM25,000 or 0.07% of the total projected allowable election expenditure for their candidates.
With 47 parliamentary candidates and 101 state candidates, *Democratic Action Party* (*DAP)* may spend up to RM 19.5 million but the few advertisements that were recorded added up to total costs of RM111,000 or 0.57% of the total projected allowable election expenditure for their candidates.
None of *Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS)* ‘s 66 parliamentary candidates and 235 state candidates had so far, spent anything on print media advertisement although their candidates total projected allowable election expenditure adds up to to RM 36.7 million.
The pleasant surprise this time around is there are advertisements by non-dominant parties in the print media. This augur well and seems to have followed on the strong stand taken by many organizations including the Election Commission and TI-Malaysia that there can be no level playing field if all parties do not have fair access to the media. We hope to see a change in the electronic media which is, hitherto entirely monopolized by the dominant parties.
Transparency International Malaysia urges all parties to declare all their advertisement expenses and to require their candidates to report their respective share of such expenses.
TI also urges the Election Commission to closely scrutinize the candidates’ expenses report and be prepared to lodge police reports for any under-reporting found.
As part of the Transparency International’s regional CRINIS (Ray of Light) Project to promote transparency in political financing, Transparency International Malaysia is monitoring six English dailies, five Malay newspapers, four Chinese titles and three Tamil dailies since Nomination Day. Estimated advertisement cost is based on normal advertisement rates quoted by the various publications surveyed.
Next week TI-Malaysia will announce the results of its monitoring of the parties’ expenses for TV election advertisements, where the lion’s share of election advertising monies are believed to go.
This is the first time that campaign expense monitoring is being monitored. This is a new addition to election process monitoring and media content monitoring that had started from previous elections and is being performed in this election as well.
Tan Sri (Dr) Ramon V. Navaratnam
Transparency International Malaysia