KUALA LUMPUR: Information that implies hedge fund billionaire George Soros is funding local civil society groups and a news portal must be investigated, says Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic).
The Deputy Prime Minister said the investigation must also be done empirically, by means of observation and scientific experimentation.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said it was not a question of whom the funding was given to or why, but more important was the matter of foreign involvement in national politics.
“There is no need for foreign involvement – let alone in terms of political funding – either to go against or to support any organisations or individuals,” he told reporters after the launch of the book, Being Abdullah Badawi, here Monday.
It was reported that the Open Society Foundation (OSF) founded by Soros had been funding several local organisations in its programmes to allegedly influence the outcome of the next general election.
When asked about the call made by several leaders for the organisations involved to be investigated, Ahmad Zahid said it would be done if a police report was made.
“Let them lodge the police report first. We will act on it. We are not subject to speculation or mere suggestion,” Bernama reported him as saying.
In Parliament, several Barisan Nasional lawmakers also called for an investigation, including Datuk Liang Teck Meng (BN-Simpang Renggam), who said it was outrageous that there were attempts by certain individuals to meddle in Malaysian politics.
“This is something that I view as treasonous. We want authorities to investigate the matter,” he said while debating Budget 2017 on Monday.
He said it showed that this was a clear attempt to topple a democratically-elected government.
“I did not make this up as Bersih chairman 2.0 Maria Chin Abdullah admitted that they received funding from OSF,” said Liang.
Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (BN-Lenggong) said the leaked document also revealed that the OSF had played a role in the country since 2010 by funding certain organisations “in the name of free and fair elections”.
“We heard that there are foreign funds that came into the country through the OSF. This is a dangerous revelation and we want an investigation,” he said.
The meeting, titled “Malaysia Programme – Portfolio Review Outcome Summary” in June 2015, outlined efforts by OSF to support civil society efforts and empowerment of indigenous groups, youth and women and rural areas and for free and fair elections.
The meeting was attended by, among others, OSF president Christopher Stone and Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research director Ibrahim Suffian.
The document stated that OSF was mostly involved in giving grants to Malaysian civil society groups on election-related work.