Tuesday 4 September 2012

Gov't too receives foreign funding, says Suaram

Deflecting the government's accusation that it receives foreign funding, human rights group Suaram points to the government receiving foreign funds as well, but in greater sums.

NONE"Is it a big secret that Malaysian NGOs have been receiving foreign grants, among other donations, all these years? You mean, the Malaysian government has been ignorant of this all these years?" Suaram adviser Kua Kia Soong asked in a statement today.

He was responding to Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob's statement yesterday that Suaram's accounts were "highly suspicious".

Kua explained that Malaysian NGOs, particularly those involved with issues concerning human rights, women, indigenous people, migrants and refugees ,often received foreign funding because the Malaysian government "does not care" about these matters.

"But what Malaysian NGOs receive from foreign funders is peanuts compared with what the Malaysian government gets from foreign funders.

"Practically every mega project in Malaysia, since Independence, has been financed by foreign backers. The same goes for mega arms deals," Kua said.

An example, Kua said, was when the United Kingdom through its foreign aid budget in 1994 provided £234 million for the Pergau hydroelectric dam in Kelantan in exchange for Malaysia's purchase of £1 billion in arms.

"So, for just one project, namely, the Pergau dam, the Malaysian government received £234 million. Can you imagine how much foreign funding the Malaysian government has been receiving all these years since Independence?" he asked.

‘Suaram more anti-imperialist than government'

Kua said despite receiving some foreign funds, Suaram remained staunch in advocating human rights and remained firm on its anti-imperialist stance.

An example was Suaram organising an anti-war protest in front of the United States Embassy, each year from 2002 to 2007, on top of speaking out against the imperialistic behaviours of foreign countries, he said.

suaram upm memo protest 250907 crowd"Which other Malaysian organisation has been as consistent in opposing and condemning US imperialism all these years? Suaram also played a key role in the last important peace conference for East Timor in 1996, together with other NGOs.

"We have also been an active component in the campaign for democracy in Burma," he added.

In contrast, Kua pointed out, the Malaysian government supported American military presence in this region and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has fallen in line with US policies, including implementing sanctions on Iran.

Kua reiterated that the targeting of Suaram was the result of its complaint to the French courts on the Scorpene submarine purchase controversy.

"Ever since Suaram's complaint to the French courts regarding suspected corruption involved in the purchase of the two Scorpene submarines, the BN government has been behaving like a cat in a tin pot republic.

"The theoretically 'above politics' civil service - the Companies Commission, Social Security Organisation and even the Inland Revenue Board - have been roped in to try to pin something on Suaram," he said, adding that Suaram's financial accounts "are above board".

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