Open Society Foundations (OSF) has rubbished allegations that it is aiming to topple the Malaysian Government by funding several local civil societies.
OSF, owned by Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros, said the funding was instead meant to “support justice, accountability and democratic practice”.
It was responding to a leaked document, purportedly from the minutes of a June 22, 2015 meeting on OSF’s “Malaysia Program”, which involved discussions on the promotion of free and fair elections.
“Claims that OSF funded attempts to overthrow the government in Malaysia are entirely false,” it said in a statement today.
“The OSF support justice, accountability and democratic practices around the world and in Malaysia our grant-making to civil society includes efforts to promote public health, foster fair migration policies and encourage the civic and political participation of all Malaysian citizens.”
The OSF also stated that it had been funding civil societies in Malaysia for more than a decade, contributing an average of USD700,000 annually.
It confirmed that “small grants” were provided to Bersih 2.0 and other groups under the electoral watchdog back in 2012, but affirmed that it was no longer doing so.
The OSF then listed some of its objectives which included efforts to empower those whose voices have been left out of the country’s discourse, such as the youth, indigenous people and women.
Its projects include “voter education, poll monitoring and public surveys to provide greater information, participation and oversight for free and fair elections”.
“The OSF also support indigenous communities threatened by dam development in the Sarawak region, as well as efforts to increase protection and access to justice for Malaysian migrant workers and their communities through education and legal aid.”
The document leaked by DCLeaks last weekend has resulted in various allegations of foreign intervention aimed at overthrowing the government.
Numerous police reports have been lodged against Bersih, Merdeka Center and Malaysiakini, who were named as the recipients of OSF’s grants.
A special task force has also been formed by the police to investigate the matter.
Source : FMT Reporters Online