Legal Action Against Suaram is Going to Unite NGOs and Civil Society Against the Regime

 

The Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) said today it will recommend to the attorney-general to bring charges against Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd, the vehicle for human rights group Suaram. 

“We are initiating legal action based on the company’s reporting of its accounts, which is confusing,” Ismail Sabri said. Asked what he meant by confusing, he replied: “All kinds of things. It is misleading. We are building a case, we cannot expose all the details now. 

 “They do one thing and report another,” he said. 

Ismail Sabri said CCM was still looking at other possible charges against Suara Inisiatif but has confirmed at least one charge against it under section Section 364(2) of the Companies Act 1965, which carries a jail term of up to 10 years, a fine of RM250,000 or both. 

The other sections under which Suaram was still being investigated are Section 166A(3), Section 169(14), Section 167(1), Section 167(2) and Section 132(1) of the Companies Act 1965. 

 Asked if one of the other possible charges was for receiving funding from the Open Society Foundation, which was founded by business magnate George Soros, he replied: “No, It doesn’t concern funding, that is beyond our jurisdiction.” Ironically, who would believe Ismail Sabri's denial that the prosecution of Suaram is not related to either George Soros or Scorpene investigation in France? UMNO leaders have been attacking the NGO for receiving foreign funding. 

They alleged that Suaram has become a foreign tool and being an irresponsible social critic. Suaram has initiated an investigation into the shoddy Scorpene deal. 

This may be bad and irresponsible to the government but Suaram has done the Malaysian public a good service by putting a possibly mega corruption case through the strictest scrutiny. We need to know why more than RM500 million can be paid to a company owned by a Minister as coordination and consultancy fee for arranging the purchase? 

 It is a shame that the government has decided to pick on an NGO has barely RM500k to its account and annual budget. Anyone looking for riches would not stay anywhere close to this organisation. A lack of priority and consistency in its enforcement is going to render CCM another tool of the regime.

It is going to further dent PM Najib's image as a reformer. By taking on Suaram, the BN government risks taking on NGOs and independent activists like myself. Between the government and Suaram is this case, the choice is quite obvious. 

We shall stand united with Suaram and help to ensure that we defeat the autocrats. It is a dark day for Malaysia. The government can take whatever action it sees fit but it must be ready to face the repercussion. Posted by Khoo Kay Peng

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