A think tank said the BN should not be “paranoid” about NGOs receiving foreign funding, as the ruling coalition also does likewise and receives American support.

“Barisan Nasional MPs should not be so paranoid about the incoming of foreign funds to support NGOs in Malaysia,” said Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) chief Wan Saiful Wan Jan in an email to Malaysiakini.

Wan Saiful Wan Jan (2)“After all, Barisan Nasional parties also receive American support, with the latest one being just last weekend at a luxurious hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

“This is not new because, in fact, Barisan Nasional leaders have been receiving foreign support too for many years,” he alleged.

Wan Saiful (left) was responding to BN parliamentarians such as Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) and Abdul Rahman Dahlan (BN-Kota Belud) who in Parliament yesterday claimed that foreign funders were seeking to undermine the government.

Government agencies and pro-government groups with the BN-controlled mainstream media in tow, have been on a campaign attacking human rights NGO Suaram for receiving foreign funds.

In particular, they have attempted to paint the Scorpenes scandal inquiry in France as one such attempt to put the government in bad light.

News portal Malaysiakini has also not been spared, and has been accused of being a tool of foreign funders to publish “anti-government” news.

'Pro-gov't body receives Christian funds' 

Wan Saiful added that “many bodies close to the government” also receive foreign funding, that include a foreign Christian party.

NONE“For example, I have in front of me evidence that a think tank close to the government receives support from a foundation linked to a Christian party from abroad.

“Foreign funding is a norm for many NGOs,” he said.

He added that just as the government wants foreign investment to enter the country and that is considered good, the same should be said for funds that aid the growth of the country’s civil society.

“Surely the foreign support received by BN parties last weekend is not meant to weaken but to strengthen the institutions of the government.

“Such support should be cherished, not condemned,” he said.