CIMB chairman Nazir Razak's reputation intact, but what about the rest? Sin Chew Daily

CIMB chairman Nazir Razak (above) has taken a voluntary leave pending investigation on a fund transfer scandal.
CIMB chairman Nazir Razak (above) has taken a voluntary leave pending investigation on a fund transfer scandal. PHOTO: REUTERS

In its editorial on April 21, the paper calls for a review of rules, regulations and systems to control political funding.

CIMB chairman Nazir Razak's decision to take a voluntary leave pending investigation on fund transfer scandal has drawn tremendous attention.

Mr Nazir earlier admitted to have helped his brother Prime Minister Najib Razak to transfer US$7 million (S$9.43 million) which he thought then was from local corporate and private donations for the purpose of election.

CIMB has since initiated an internal probe and Mr Nazir took the voluntary leave to facilitate the independent inquiry into the fund transfer.

His move has highlighted his adherence to accountability and transparency, and this has since earned him praises from the public while leaving his reputation undented.

Undeniably Mr Nazir has served as an excellent role model for the society.

From the corporate perspectives, his move has helped reinforce the company's culture of good governance and transparency which is highly commendable.

Malaysia lacks a culture of accountability.

Hopefully Mr Nazir's move will sow a seed of accountability that will eventually thrive into a deeply ingrained corporate culture in this country.

The personality of Mr Nazir aside, perhaps we should turn our attention to the perennial problem of lax control over political funding.

We have never had a set of laws and systems to regulate the flow of political funds, and that explains why Mr Nazir had been able to help his brother distribute the money.

In other words, he had made his own judgment in the absence of a definite set of guidelines on political donations.

Such ambiguity could potentially spawn controversies.

If we had a healthy set of systems and guidelines governing political donations, grey area would have been avoided and no controversies would arise from fund transfers involving political donations.

PM Najib announced last year to set up a national consultative committee on political funding in a bid to control all kinds of political donations before the next general elections.

Headed by minister in the PM's department Paul Low, the committee has so far convened several meetings and made preliminary decisions to ban foreign donations and corporate donations by GLCs.

This committee is expected to submit its proposals on the control of political funding by August, and the government must then expedite its effort to push ahead legislative proceedings to address the issue once and for all.

On the one hand, Mr Nazir's fund transfer incident has underscored his attitude of taking responsibility for his actions, on the other hand it also highlights the lack of control over political donations.

As we display our approval for Mr Nazir's noble characters, we should more than ever see the urgency of legislating laws to govern the flow of political funds in this country.

* Sin Chew Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 22 newspapers.