Tuesday 3 July 2012
Raid on Suaram aborted by faulty warrant
A group of officers from the Companies Commission of Malaysia who came to conduct a "routine inspection" at the premises of human rights group Suaram about 3pm today had to turn back because their warrant was invalid.
"The warrant must be signed by the registrar. It was not and the person who came along was only a deputy.
"They have decided to come back tomorrow," Suaram board member Cynthia Gabriel told Malaysiakini.
Gabriel said four CCM officers who turned up wanted to interview Suaram staff as well as look at its documents and accounts.
Suaram became a household name in Malaysia after it spearheaded the campaign to get French authorities investigate alleged corruption in the sale of two Scorpene submarines to Malaysia by French shipbuilder DCNS.
The matter is now the subject of a probe by the French courts, which had disclosed alleged illegal kickbacks involving DCNS officials as well as prominent Malaysian personalities and companies.
According to court investigation papers leaked online by John Berthelsen, editor of the Asian Sentinel, among those named in the investigation are Umno, Abdul Razak Baginda , who is a close confidante of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, and several companies linked to Malaysian officials and their family members.
Gabriel also condemned the raidon Suaram as “unnecessary harrasment”.
“It is to distract members of the public and divert attention from the ongoing probe into corruption involved in the Scorpene deal,” she lamented.
The raid on Suaram followed calls from Umno-linked NGOs that want Suaram to disclose why, as a human rights group, it is registered as a company; to come clean on its sources of funding and what happened to nearly one million ringgit it posted as earnings since 2009.
Raids and “routine inspections” of organisations that vocally criticise the ruling BN coalition are not new, especially at times when the government faces intense monitoring and questioning from NGOs.
One instance was during the Reformasi movement of the late 90s, when a number of vocal critics of the government came under ‘investigation’ for alleged financial irregularities.