Funding A Foreign Agenda
By Chandra Muzaffar
09 December, 2012
In the midst of all the talk about integrity and democracy in Malaysia, a practice which is of tremendous significance to both has not received the attention it deserves. This is the funding of political parties.
Political parties are not keen on detailed scrutiny of their funding since it does not serve their interests. Politically inclined NGOs have also not championed this cause partly because many of them are aligned to either the government or the opposition. And yet this is one area where there is an imperative need for greater accountability, transparency and honesty.
In this regard, the Malaysian parliament took an important step forward in April 2012 by accepting the proposal from a parliamentary select committee to allocate funds to political parties based on the quantum of seats secured by a party in the general election. If political parties draw their funds from an independent public institution directly responsible to parliament and the state assemblies, the scope for electoral corruption may be reduced. Wealthy individuals and corporations may not be in a position to influence elections and politics. However, public funding of party and electoral politics need not preclude private financing of political party activities provided it is governed by strict rules of accountability and disclosure.
To ensure accountability, it may be necessary to register political parties under a separate law. At the moment, they are governed by the Societies Act which covers a whole spectrum of civil society entities. A law that is specific to political parties will also help to define their roles and responsibilities--- including how they are funded---in a more transparent manner.
This has become even more urgent today because the forces that shape the role of a political party and its electoral performance are no longer confined to the domestic arena. There are actors beyond our shores who have no qualms about sticking their noses into our politics. Sometimes their local clients invite them to interfere in our affairs. I had a taste of this in 1999 when I was Deputy President of an opposition party, Parti Keadilan Nasional, now Parti Keadilan Rakyat.
A few weeks before the 1999 General Election an emissary of the infamous Zionist currency speculator, George Soros, came to see me in my office in Petaling Jaya about an alleged request from the de facto leader of Keadilan for funding for the party in the Election. Apparently, the de facto leader’s trusted aide had got in touch with the Zionist media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, on his boss’s behalf, about financial assistance for the party. Murdoch in turn had passed on the request to his friend, Soros, who had sent the emissary on his behalf.
I told the emissary that Keadilan will not accept funds from foreign sources and there was no question of Soros or anyone else funding the party’s election campaign. That evening I informed the party President about what had transpired at my meeting with Soros’s emissary and requested her to find out from the de facto leader, her husband,( who was then in prison) whether there was any truth in what the emissary had conveyed to me. According to the party President, the de facto leader had denied any knowledge of a request to Murdoch for funding and Soros’s involvement. I believed him and let the matter rest at that.
However, since 1999 a lot of evidence has emerged of funds from Soros’s outfits being channelled to organisations affiliated to, and associated with, the de facto leader and Keadilan. A former Keadilan Youth leader has even sworn in the National Mosque that the party has received foreign funds. And in July 2011, a leader of Bersih, the coalition for clean and fair elections, admitted that her organisation had received money from Soros’s Open Society Institute (OSI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) which is funded by the US National Endowment for Democracy(NED).
There is no need to emphasise here that Soros and the NED have been hyper active in numerous countries in almost every continent, in the pretext of promoting human rights and democracy when their real goals the furtherance of the US foreign policy agenda. The NED for instance established in 1983 which operates in more than 90 countries has been rightly described by William Blum, a former US State Department official and author of Rogue State and Killing Hope as a “Trojan Horse.” He observes that the NED does “overtly what the CIA had been doing covertly for decades, and thus, hopefully, eliminate the stigma associated with CIA covert activities.” The NED “meddles in the internal affairs of foreign countries by supplying funds, technical know-how, training, educational materials, computers, fax machines, copiers, automobiles and so on, to selected political groups, civic organisations, labour unions, dissident movements, student groups, book publishers, newspapers, other media, etc.” In the last 10 years or so the NED has carried out many of these activities in collaboration with the type of groups mentioned by Blum here in Malaysia.
Why is the NED which is funded entirely by the US government playing this game in Malaysia when the Malaysian government especially in the last few years has gone out of its way to foster closer ties with the US? In spite of the increasingly warm relations, there are elements in our foreign policy which do not blend with US interests. On the question of Israel and the struggle of the Palestinian people, Prime Minister Mohd Najib continues to adhere to the principled policy of his predecessors. He is not prepared to express concern for Israel’s “security,” unlike the leader of the Opposition who knows that “security” is the code-word that the Israeli elite and their Zionist supporters in the US and the West look for in assessing a leader’s attitude to Israel. Neither has Najib shown any inclination to endorse the US agenda of containing China which in the context of East Asia is undoubtedly the US’s central preoccupation. As the US projects itself as the pivot of the Asia-Pacific and, in the process, attempts to curb Chinese influence in the region, it wants to be absolutely certain that it has allies and not just friends in ASEAN. And who can be a better ally than someone who not only sits on panels funded by the NED and Soros outfits but has also, over the years, developed strong ties with powerful personalities and lobbies at the very core of the ‘deep state’ in the US --- the deep state that actually determines the direction of US foreign policy, regardless of who lives in the White House?
These are some of the fundamental issues that Malaysians should try to understand as they attempt to make sense of the Malaysian political landscape on the eve of the 13th General Election. For in the ultimate analysis what is at stake is our dignity as an independent and sovereign nation. Protecting that dignity is part of the mission of Yayasan 1Malaysia.
Dr. Chandra Muzaffar,
Board of Trustees,
9 December 2012.
Comments are moderated