Tuesday 25 September 2012

Apart from democracy groups, Malaysian AIDS Council admits getting Soros funds

September 25, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 — Currency speculator George Soros not only funds pro-democracy groups in Malaysia, but has also funded activities of the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) which was led at one time by his chief Malaysian critic’s daughter, Datuk Paduka Marina Mahathir.

The US citizen has been in the limelight lately after government-friendly mainstream newspapers and a television station said his Open Society Institute (OSI) had funded pro-democracy groups out to destabilise the Barisan Nasional (BN) government under Datuk Seri Najib Razak. The media did not offer proof of any destabilisation efforts.

MAC was led at one time by Marina Mahathir
Soros’ chief critic has been Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who once called the American tycoon a “moron” when his currency speculation was said to have brought down the ringgit during the Asian financial crisis in 1997/98.
 The MAC confirmed with The Malaysian Insider that it received funds from OSI and the Global Fund, which is involved in awareness programmes to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

“Yes, MAC also received foreign funds and it is used for awareness programmes such as campaigns to raise awareness about AIDS and HIV issues and other programmes,” said a MAC spokesman.

The organisation said last year it received funds amounting to US$75,000 (RM232,500), said the spokesman who declined to be named.

Last week, disputes over Malaysian NGOs receiving foreign funding became a hot issue that was played up by the mainstream media controlled by Umno and the ruling BN coalition.

It was alleged that such foreign funding is intended to bring down the Malaysian government and leaders’ image.

The NGOs that have been targeted include Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), journalist training group Seacem and the MalaysiaKini news portal that have been accused as attempting to destabilise the government or the country.

Suaram recently came under close scrutiny of the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) due to its foreign funding sources and the government agency said earlier last week that it plans to charge the activist group for its “misleading accounts”.

The human rights NGO has been actively pursuing the Scorpene scandal in the French courts, determined to expose the government of alleged corruption in the purchase of the multibillion submarines in 2009 and possibly reopen the murder case of Mongolian model Altantuyaa Shaariibuu, who was said to be linked to the deal.

Dr Mahathir suggested two days ago that Soros was attempting to usurp political power from the BN government by appointing his own leader as the next prime minister of Malaysia.

“How can it be a good thing? He wants to control our politics,” Dr Mahathir told reporters on Sunday.

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