A lot is being said about the DC Leaks papers going public, detailing how George Soros is funding non-government organisations (NGOs) and even media in Malaysia.
One document leaked was a spreadsheet detailing how Soros – through his Southeast Asia Institute (SEAI) – was choosing a few NGOs in the region, including those in Malaysia. Among those mentioned were the Penang Institute, the Malaysia Bar Council, Lawyers for Liberty, Komas, Empower, Tenaganita and even Suaram, local and international in 2014.
I didn’t even know Suaram had an international subsidiary, but there it is.
The two media outlets mentioned was Malaysiakini’s video site, KiniTV, and Radio Free Sarawak.
Thus, we have had a few reactionary pieces seen in the news. For instance, our Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar is putting together a special task force to investigate Malaysiakini, while also mentioning that our crime index is down but street crimes are on the rise.
At the same time, Minister of Information Tan Sri Salleh Keruak openly told the press that Malaysiakini will be investigated for accepting funds from a Soros funded foundation which took place in 2002.
That’s right. Fourteen years ago.
At the same time, Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low has come out and said that foreign funding for ‘political’ organisations will be barred, and Datuk Seri Azalina Othman has also spoken to have such an amendment in the proposed law on campaign funding.
This pretty much sums up what has happened so far, but omits a few things.
First off, is it a crime to accept foreign funds?
If so, then why is our prime minister still the prime minister? Shouldn’t he be the first to be mentioned and investigated for accepting a huge donation from God only knows whom.
Secondly, should all organisations declare where their funding comes from?
Yes, they should. This is my personal opinion with no basis of law, other than the common sense that if an NGO preaches transparency, then they should hold themselves to that standard and declare where they get their funds from.
I really don’t care if you’re the Red Shirts, Bersih, ISMA, Perkasa or even the multiple, multiple Malay NGOs or whichever trade association you come from, they should all be held to the same standard and declare their funding.
As much as foreign funds are being given to preach freedom of speech and democracy, the government and its supporters are equally funding the other side to try and balance this out.
The only difference here, is that some of that money comes from a rich billionaire, while the other could have been taxpayer ringgits which could have paid off for subsidies and even BR1M, but was instead spent on propaganda to maintain power.
For myself, I do not consider foreign funding for local causes an issue because we have benefited from it many times over in one sector – education.
Thus, if Paul Low wants to talk about ‘political’ organisations, will he disallow the Chevening Alumni from convening and hosting events?
Will there be an outcry whenever some foundation funds a Malaysian student to further their studies, such as The Star Foundation?
What about the multiple tahfiz associations which are formed in the rural areas?
What about trade associations? Will Salleh now go after the US Asean Chamber of Commerce if they are getting funds from the United States?
And how do we quantify the training received by Umno by the International Republican Institute before the last general election?
Foreign and even local government funding is everywhere in the NGO sector, it isn’t just Bersih or ISMA or even the Red Shirts. However, what is being vilified does not represent the true story here because funding remains an opaque topic.
My suggestion is to bring it all to light so we can see who funds what, the good and the bad, the liberal and the conservative, and even what Farouk Peru terms the Islamofascists. Let the people see and decide to support or whack all of it.
To such an end, the government should stop being hypocritical. After all, I know you are funding all training the pro-aspiration student council leadership because I attended one of those hosted by Azalina herself when I was in UiTM Shah Alam in 2004.
Source : Hafidz Baharom@The Heat Malaysia Online