PETALING JAYA, Nov 3 — Some 50 members of the Red Shirts movement marched to Malaysiakini’s office here today to demand an explanation over claims that the news portal received funding from US magnate George Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF).
Red Shirts leader Datuk Jamal Yunus approached the main gate of the office block here amid heavy presence of police and the Federal Reserve Unit, a riot control force, before sitting down with three editors of the portal at a café to discuss the matter.
At the main gate, the police, after speaking with Malaysiakini editors, only allowed 10 representatives of the group including Jamal to enter the premises.
In the meeting, Jamal demanded that Malaysiakini explain to him the allegations of receiving funding from OSF by this Saturday noon, failing which Jamal said the group will hold a mass protest and supposedly “tear down” half of the building on that day.
“Are you really going to tear down our building?” the portal’s editor-in-chief Steven Gan asked following the threat.
“I don’t know...I cannot promise anything on that day,” Jamal replied, while sipping the coffee provided.
Despite that, the portal’s Malay language desk editor Jimadie Shah Othman answered Jamal’s queries on the alleged funding by OSF.
“Our funding come from donors, subscribers, advertisements and yes, some did come from OSF...all these information are in our website,” he said.
Jamal’s group left the office about 15 minutes later and told reporters outside that he still plans hold another rally outside the office this Saturday.
“God willing, if I’m still alive, I will bring some 20,000 members from NGOs nationwide to protest here,” he claimed.
Several police reports have been lodged against electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0, urging the police to investigate the authenticity of leaked minutes purportedly from an OSF meeting that detailed its efforts to intervene in Malaysian politics through donations.
The document also reportedly said Malaysiakini’s video arm KiniTV had also received funding from the Malaysia Programme.
Malaysiakini said that the grant was used to produce the Realiti Sarawak and Sekilas Bumi Kenyalang programmes and that it only constituted a small portion of its revenue.
Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah also said the organisation has not received any money from OSF since mid-2011 onwards.