PETALING JAYA: The federal government has been urged to distribute resources fairly, regardless of political affiliation.
“The system where financial resources are distributed downwards from the federal level to states, local governments and then to communities began in a highly politicised environment.
“These patterns of political determination continue today, done through highly unequal Constituency Development Funds (CDF) and other ‘politico-bureaucratic’ set-ups,” said Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) fellow Tricia Yeoh, in her paper published by Ideas.
Despite Malaysia being set up as a federation, it is highly centralised fiscally, where states and local governments do not have much fiscal-raising powers.
Yeoh, in her paper titled, “The Political Economy of Federal-State Relations: How the centre influences resource distribution to the periphery”, goes on to question the status quo.
“The current system is not sustainable, as it causes politicians to seek alternative sources of political funding if they cannot access it from the federal government in an impartial and unbiased way.
“This is to be expected as one of the core duties of politicians is to serve their constituents.
“The CDF model should also be reconfigured to reduce financial dependence on politicians, especially in urban areas,” she said.
Yeoh also said development funds can instead be disbursed through existing institutions like local governments and land district councils.
To provide greater fundraising flexibility for state and local governments, Yeoh suggested that CDF allocations be given regardless of party affiliation.
“A CDF Bill should also be tabled in Parliament.
“Furthermore, abolish the duplicate Federal Kampung Community Management Councils (MPKKPs) across all states,” she added.