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Past Events

Party Funding and Money Politics in Malaysia and Indonesia: Different Solutions – The Same Dilemma

Date: 27 Aug 2018
Time: 1500 - 1630
Venue: ISEAS Seminar Room 2


Party Funding and Money Politics in Malaysia and Indonesia: 
Different Solutions – The Same Dilemma 

About the Seminar

The role of parties as a key part of the political landscape is widely accepted in Southeast Asia. They are supposed to: aggregate the political will of the citizens; provide solutions for economic, social, and political problems; and select and train personnel for leadership and administration. However, a growing dilemma they are facing is the increasing gap between available funding on one hand and the cost of running their organizations and the spiraling expenses for election campaigns on the other.

Two recent incidents illustrate this dilemma: the fall of Prime Minister Najib Razak in Malaysia; and the conviction of former Golkar leader and speaker of parliament, Setya Novanto, in Indonesia. Money politics is endemic all over the world, but its financial dimensions in Southeast Asia are outstanding. Membership fees are nominal, and public funding is rare and insufficient. Thus, donations are the biggest source of income for the parties. The crucial question is, therefore, how to maximize the donations? Most fund-raising measures currently used are seen as corrupt by an increasingly critical public and tarnish the image of parties and politicians.

Looking specifically at Malaysia and Indonesia, this seminar will analyze this dilemma, its manifestations, and the extent to which available knowledge indicates practical measures to deal with it.

About the Speaker

Dr Wolfgang Sachsenröder is a “political science practitioner” with long experience in student politics, local politics in Germany, civic education, and political consultancy in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and South Eastern Europe. Retired in Germany, he joined ISEAS as a Visiting Fellow and Associate Fellow from 2009 to 2014. His newest publication covers the party funding dilemma in nine of the ten ASEAN countries: Power Broking in the Shade – Party Finances and Money Politics in Southeast Asia (2018). In his blog www.partyforumseasia.org he observes the evolving party systems in the region.


For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 24 August 2018.