‘No law against re­ceiv­ing for­eign funds’

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS - BY KAREN ARUKESAMY AND ADRIAN PHUNG

KUALA LUMPUR: Re­ceiv­ing for­eign funds for ac­tiv­i­ties is not a crime un­der the law un­less it is from pro­hib­ited or­gan­i­sa­tions.

In slam­ming the use of the Se­cu­rity Of­fences (Spe­cial Mea­sures) Act 2012 (Sosma) on civil so­ci­ety, Bar Coun­cil pres­i­dent Steven Thiru said: “The ra­tio­nale be­hind the re­cent use of Sosma for al­legedly re­ceiv­ing for­eign fund­ing is dif­fi­cult to fathom. There is no le­gal im­ped­i­ment on re­ceiv­ing for­eign fund­ing and there is noth­ing to in­di­cate that the al­leged fund­ing that is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, em­anated from a pro­hib­ited or­gan­i­sa­tion un­der our law.”

“The ap­proach of the au­thor­i­ties ap­pear to be that these fund­ing are be­ing used for ac­tiv­i­ties detri­men­tal to par­lia­men­tary democ­racy, such as top­pling a demo­crat­i­cally-elected gov­ern­ment,” he said.

Steven stressed that the ac­tiv­i­ties of civil so­ci­eties un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion are clearly for en­hanc­ing democ­racy in the coun­try, specif­i­cally in hu­man rights ad­vo­cacy and aware­ness.

“Much of the ac­tiv­i­ties are for the marginalised and vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in our so­ci­ety, such as for­eign work­ers.

“It is per­plex­ing the au­thor­i­ties have cho­sen to use Sosma, par­tic­u­larly against or­gan­i­sa­tions which have pur­port­edly re­ceived fund­ing from OSF (Open So­ci­ety Foun­da­tion),” he said.

Mean­while in PE­TAL­ING JAYA, Per­sat­uan Kesedaran Ko­mu­niti Se­lan­gor (Em­power) pres­i­dent Ja­narthani Aru­mugam said dur­ing a re­cent raid at its of­fice, po­lice had threat­ened the staff with de­ten­tion with­out ac­cess to lawyers.

Ja­narthani said Em­power con­demns the raid and the in­ter­ro­ga­tion of its staff with­out al­low­ing for le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion. She said the raid on it may not be the last time Sosma would be used against them.

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