Apart from democracy groups, Malaysian AIDS Council admits getting Soros funds
By Md Izwan
September 25, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 — Currency speculator George Soros not only funds pro-democracy groups in Malaysia, but has also funded activities of the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) which was led at one time by his chief Malaysian critic’s daughter, Datuk Paduka Marina Mahathir.
The US citizen has been in the limelight lately after government-friendly mainstream newspapers and a television station said his Open Society Institute (OSI) had funded pro-democracy groups out to destabilise the Barisan Nasional (BN) government under Datuk Seri Najib Razak. The media did not offer proof of any destabilisation efforts.
MAC was led at one time by Marina.
Soros’ chief critic has been Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who once called the American tycoon a “moron” when his currency speculation was said to have brought down the ringgit during the Asian financial crisis in 1997/98.
The MAC confirmed with The Malaysian Insider that it received funds from OSI and the Global Fund, which is involved in awareness programmes to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
“Yes, MAC also received foreign funds and it is used for awareness programmes such as campaigns to raise awareness about AIDS and HIV issues and other programmes,” said a MAC spokesman.
The organisation said last year it received funds amounting to US$75,000 (RM232,500), said the spokesman who declined to be named.
Last week, disputes over Malaysian NGOs receiving foreign funding became a hot issue that was played up by the mainstream media controlled by Umno and the ruling BN coalition.
It was alleged that such foreign funding is intended to bring down the Malaysian government and leaders’ image.
The NGOs that have been targeted include Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), journalist training group Seacem and the MalaysiaKini news portal that have been accused as attempting to destabilise the government or the country.
Suaram recently came under close scrutiny of the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) due to its foreign funding sources and the government agency said earlier last week that it plans to charge the activist group for its “misleading accounts”.
The human rights NGO has been actively pursuing the Scorpene scandal in the French courts, determined to expose the government of alleged corruption in the purchase of the multibillion submarines in 2009 and possibly reopen the murder case of Mongolian model Altantuyaa Shaariibuu, who was said to be linked to the deal.
Dr Mahathir suggested two days ago that Soros was attempting to usurp political power from the BN government by appointing his own leader as the next prime minister of Malaysia.
“How can it be a good thing? He wants to control our politics,” Dr Mahathir told reporters on Sunday.
Posted on 24 September 2012 - 09:33pm Last updated on 25 September 2012 - 08:56am
Hemananthani Sivanandam and Alyaa Alhadjri at the Dewan Rakyat Yesterday
KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 24, 2012): Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PKR-Permatang Pauh) said he was not to be blamed for the losses suffered by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) in the foreign exchange (forex) market during the 90s.
Anwar, who was the then finance minister, insisted that it was he who had instructed BNM to stop speculating on the currency market in 1993.
“As finance minister, I had confirmed it and instructed the immediate halt of all forex trading,” he said today when he was given the floor to explain by Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.
Anwar claimed the forex trading only took place “before 1990” with the approval of the then Finance Minister and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He added that the then BNM governor Tan Sri Jaffar Hussein and current Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, who was in charge of forex in BNM during the period, had also offered to resign.
“But after I was jailed, Nor Mohamed was promoted to minister,” said Anwar.
Earlier, Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) interjected to a question raised by Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan), saying it was a “soalan bunuh kawan” (question which could bring harm to a friend).
Referring to the Hansard from 1993, Khairy said Guan Eng’s father, Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) had then called for Anwar to take “minis-terial responsibility” over the losses. To this, Anwar said it was not wrong for Kit Siang to pose the question as he was seeking explanation.
Earlier, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Seri Donald Lim told the Dewan that Malaysia lost RM5.7 billion in 1992 as stated in BNM’s 1993 annual report.
He was replying to Guan Eng who asked who were involved and if action was taken against the officers responsible. However, the deputy minister skirted the issue and told Guan Eng to refer the matter to Anwar as he was the finance minister then.
“The RM5.7 billion figure was reported in BNM’s 1993 report. We know this issue. We know that Permatang Pauh was the minister at that time, until 1998.
“If any action was to be taken, it should have been done during that time and not wait until a few years later and then question,” he said.
And third one/wan fro Citizen-Nades of the Sun's investigation unit that keeps governments -- state and federal and even local councils -- on their toes. I have always enjoyed reading fellow newshound's recollections, and keeping issues ALIVE!:):):)~~~~~~~~~
Playing double standards
Posted on 23 September 2012 - 08:55pm Last updated on 24 September 2012 - 02:05am
IN mid-July 2007, we were important enough to be invited for a tête-à-tête at the then office of the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) as we had written extensively on the subject. We had months earlier broken the story of (the late) Datuk Zakaria Mat Deros and his 16-room (with 21 bathrooms) "palace" which he had built on land meant for low-cost houses. In a series of articles, we explained how the land was acquired and how it was built without approval by the Klang Municipal Council.
Zakaria's infamy went around the world prompting the moniker "Sultan of Klang" and there were even suggestions that a Bollywood movie be filmed in the palatial residence of this former KTM gatekeeper. While he got away with a slap on the wrist by planning authorities in Klang, this was much more serious.
Zakaria and seven of his associates, we were told by the prosecutors, would face 37 charges under the Companies Act in the days to follow. On Aug 23, the Klang magistrate Fadzilatul Isma Ahmad Refngah was told that the charges had been withdrawn. In the furore that followed, Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail was quoted by The Star as saying that he would ask the CCM for a detailed report on why the charges were dropped, notwithstanding the fact that CCM senior prosecutor Azmil Haron told the court that the deputy public prosecutor had instructed him to drop the charges. As usual, nothing came out of it.
Zakaria and his associates could have been jailed a maximum of five years and fined up to RM30,000 on each charge. The charges included failure to submit profit-and-loss statements, financial statements and hold annual general meetings. His lawyers said the charges were dropped after representation was made to the CCM director-general and the prosecution subsequently decided to withdraw the charges.
The course of events which followed shattered public confidence in the independence, integrity and professionalism of the CCM and after all these years, comparisons are still made with Zakaria's notorious activities, whom many claim and rightly too, was treated with velvet gloves because of his political affiliation.
The events of the past two weeks and the actions of the CCM have rekindled what can only be described as a subject that had been buried and entombed in concrete. The "raid" on Suaram offices, announcements and pronouncements on the organisation has brought about yet more discussions on the double standards practised by the authorities.
Every right-thinking Malaysian will not condone or support law breakers, but when there are two sets of rules and when goal-posts are moved for political expediency, there's likely to be more than a backlash.
By demonising Suaram, the authorities have now opened themselves to answering questions on their impartiality in implementing and enforcing the law.
Receiving funds from foreigners is not outlawed. Even consumer movements have been receiving large sums of money for their so-called activities and campaigns besides paying high rentals for their premises and executive salaries for their directors. And their travels too are funded as membership is too small or restricted to generate enough funds for their activities.
Environmental groups have also been receiving grants from foreign public interest groups. Individuals, including this writer, have benefited from foreign funding.
Civil servants, journalists, members of voluntary associations and even sportsmen have also profited. In 1991, I attended a course at the International Institute of Journalism in Berlin which was funded by the German government. They paid for my airfare, lodging and a generous weekly allowance which enabled me to travel around Europe on weekends.
To say that through that funding, we would be influenced to overthrow the government is an insult to our intelligence and upbringing. The assumption that recipient of foreign funds will act as a tool is unpalatable, unacceptable and repulsive. After 55 years of independence and with so much development, both physically and mentally, the authorities cannot justify their actions by using their perceived fears. The USSR is broken up; the Cold War is over; communism is gone – dead and cremated – and yet, people still want to invent a new bogeyman called foreign funders.
R. Nadeswaran is editor (special and investigative reporting) at theSun and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org