United States-based whistleblower site, DC Leaks, has uploaded a leaked document outlining plans by a foreign group intent on meddling in Malaysian politics through a programme called the “Malaysia Program”.
The document is a leaked minutes of a meeting, allegedly involving members from the George Soros-linked Open Society Foundations (OSF) and Merdeka Centre director Ibrahim Suffian.
Over the years, Soros has been linked to pro-democracy in Eastern Europe and has also been accused of being involved in currency manipulation. Soros became a household name in Malaysia in the late 1990s after then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad accused him of engineering the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.
The minutes revealed that OSF started working on the 13th General Election (GE13) in 2010, initially anticipating that it would be held in 2011, two years after Prime Minister Najib took over the nation’s top post.
It was also revealed that the OSF network were involved in giving grants to Malaysian civil society groups for election related work.
Later on, after Soros took a personal interest in the elections and because of its perceived importance, OSF increased its efforts and the Malaysia Program became the main driver of the work.
“As a result of grant making, large scale local election monitoring occurred for the first time, and the first dedicated media monitoring project was undertaken,” the minutes had noted.
The minutes also revealed that other donors, such as the International Republican Institute and The Asia Foundation funded the same organisations as OSF.
“Other groups such as Malaysiakini were groups that the Malaysia Program and the Program for Independent Journalism were funding more generally, so while there was specific funding for Kini.tv for election reporting, supporting the group in helping create the enabling environment for free and fair elections was always ongoing through other support outside of an election year,” the minutes read.
For GE14, the minutes noted that Ibrahim felt there had to be increased focus on the growing Muslim segment and that based on polling, it appeared that this segment had not bought into the reform.
The minutes also highlighted that for GE14, the Malaysia Program needed to explore possibilies centered around policy reform, including engaging the Election Commission.
“Another area of work is in empowerment, particularly among indigenous groups, youth, women and people in rural areas.
“There is a need to look at the election monitoring work from the last time and build on the lessons to understand on how it can be supported in a more structured way,” it said.
It added that the Malaysia Program needs to build on the election related work and have a clear focus on working towards the next elections.
According to a report in the Malay Mail today, Ibrahim confirmed he was present at the meeting and was only there to give his opinion on the trends and landscape of civil society groups in Malaysia and that he left immediately after his speech.
“There was no hint or indication that the meeting was about meddling in the country’s politics,” Ibrahim was quoted as saying by the daily.
Source : FMT Reporters Online