PETALING JAYA, Nov 25 — DAP lawmaker Tony Pua today questioned the need to criminalise foreign funding if it is being used to protect and improve the country’s democracy.
In his speech at the Free Maria campaign launched here tonight, the Petaling Jaya Utara MP said that like Bersih 2.0, “hundreds and thousands” of other NGOs and government-linked agencies have also received foreign funding.
“Hundreds and thousands of NGOs and companies both independent and government related, also receive foreign funding. Is that wrong?
“I’m not going say I have no idea what funding Bersih has. I’m just saying in general, and if they did get foreign funding from some foundation, RM20,000-RM30,000, if they did, and they used it for projects to improve democracy in Malaysia, is there anything wrong with that?” he asked.
Two days ago, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said that the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) was used on Bersih 2.0 chairman, Maria Chin Abdullah in order to combat Open Society Foundations’ (OSF) attempt to purportedly topple the country, the police said today.
Khalid explained that Maria’s arrest had nothing to do with her political beliefs or the recent Bersih 5 rally, but was because the police needed time to investigate certain documents seized in the polls watchdog’s office during a raid this month.
However, he refused to confirm if the documents were linked to think tank OSF, founded by US billionaire George Soros.
Police raided Bersih 2.0’s office in Petaling Jaya ahead of the Bersih 5 street protest last week, and was said to have confiscated all of the group’s belongings.
Khalid said the police has received more than 15 police reports regarding Bersih 2.0’s activities and alleged foreign funding, and therefore the police needs Sosma to ascertain Bersih 2.0’s “status” and whether it is allowed to receive such funding.