Prominent social activist Marina Mahathir has emerged as one of the rare voices defending billionaire George Soros, who has been demonised as of late for funding local groups.
In her speech at a Bersih 5 ceramah in Kedah last night, Marina is reported to have said she met Soros 10 years ago, when he was in Kuala Lumpur.
At the time, Soros was in the country for a book tour and decided to pay Marina’s father, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, a visit. Prior to this, the former prime minister and Soros had regularly exchanged letters.
According to Sin Chew Daily, Marina told her audience that she got to know then that Soros was a generous philanthropist.
She said Soros contributed significantly to help war-torn Bosnia and was someone who believed strongly in human rights.
Soros’ philanthropy work, Marina said, normally involved large amounts. However, since Bersih was a relatively small outfit, she was sceptical if Soros knew it existed.
“We can only wish to have a direct channel (to him) so we can let him know about Bersih… If he had really given us RM3.2 billion, wouldn’t Bank Negara have known?” Marina was quoted saying.
Sungai Besar Umno divison head Jamal Md Yunos had previously claimed that the Open Society Foundation (OSF), a grant-making organisation run by George Soros, had channelled a total of RM3.2 billion to Bersih.
He said this information came from documents provided by dcleaks.com, a website that published information reportedly hacked from OSF.
Among the leaked documents was the purported minutes of a meeting by OSF’s Malaysia programme, which sought to provide grants for groups that promoted free and fair elections.
The purported meeting minutes are said to also show that the OSF does not view Malaysian opposition parties highly and that Soros had a “personal interest” in Malaysian elections.
Source : ANN@Malaysiakini