Saturday, September 22, 2012

Foreign funding for political purposes in Malaysia

Investigations to determine source of its foreign funding

KUALA LUMPUR: Investigations are being conducted on Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd, the company linked to non-governmental organisation Suaram, to determine the source and extent of its foreign funding.

So far, the “money trail” dates back to 2005 with the amount totalling over RM2mil.


The two main contributors are the American-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the George Soros-linked Open Society Institute (OSI), which have been financing groups supporting its interests and objectives around the world.

The NED supposedly provided US$535,000 (RM1.605mil) to Suaram while OSI gave about US$248,000 (RM744,000).

Suaram's No 3 funder was identified as the South-East Asia Centre for e-Media (Seacem), with the German Embassy as the fourth.

The investigations centred on financial transactions conducted with Suara Inisiatif to counter-check “misleading information” and “suspicious transactions” in the company's accounts.

The NED dedicates itself to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions and awards grants to organisations with programmes consistent with its (political) objectives.

Among others, it was reported to have provided funds to groups in Xinjiang and Tibet opposed to the Chinese Government.

OSI, started by financier Soros in 1984 to help countries make the transition from communism, is active in more than 50 countries in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the US.

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had said that legal action would be taken against Suaram and Suara Inisiatif by various government agencies for reporting a “misleading” account in its annual report.

He revealed that CCM's investigation had allegedly detected serious violations of at least five sections of the Companies Act by Suaram and Suara Inisiatif.

The minister also called for an investigation into an American NGO's alleged funding of Suaram and urged Bank Negara to investigate the matter under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001.

On Wednesday, the Attorney-General's Chambers directed CCM to further check accounts and other related offences under the Companies Act.
By PAUL GABRIEL paulnews@thestar.com.my

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