KUALA LUMPUR: A source has revealed to The Mole that Global Witness, the non-governmental organisation (NGO) responsible for the recent video that allegedly incriminates Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud in questionable land deals, has received funding from an organisation founded by currency speculator George Soros.
A financial report obtained by The Mole shows that in 2011, Global Witness received £1,249,970 from Foundation Open Society Institute (OSI), which was founded by Soros. That contribution accounted for most of Global Witness’s voluntary income in 2011.
Among Global Witness’s ‘incoming resources from charitable activities’ in 2011 was £19,083 from the National Endowment for Democracy (NDE), which is in turn largely funded by the United States government.
Both OSI and NDE have received criticism in recent years for what some say are attempts to influence Malaysia’s domestic affairs through connections to the Opposition, pro-Opposition news websites such as Malaysiakini, and pro-Opposition NGOs such as Bersih and Suaram.
Kuala Lumpur-based American journalist Nile Bowie wrote last September:
“As NED hides behind tired euphemisms of ‘promoting democracy’ and ‘fortifying civil society’ around the world, the organization has been accused of manipulating elections and bolstering dissident organizations in an attempt to topple governments in Nicaragua, Albania, Venezuela, Russia, and elsewhere. Government-funded organizations like NED, and others such as Freedom House and the International Republic Institute, exist to further American foreign policy in the countries where Washington has strategic interests.
“The United States has begun shifting its focus to the Asia Pacific region in recent times, which many believe is a means to counter China’s growing influence. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim maintains close ties with senior American officials and was even a panelist at NED’s ‘Democracy Award’ event held in Washington D.C. in 2007.”
Bowie also pointed out that NED funds both Malaysiakini and Suaram, and that the National Democratic Institute – an NED satellite organisation that Bowie identified as pro-Israel – provided funding for Bersih, as did OSI.
Bowie said Bersih and Suaram “receive funding to cast doubt on the political status quo and to promote dissent”.
Malaysian journalist Shamsul Akmar wrote in December 2012 that along with Malaysiakini, those NGOs “are either naïve or that they take others to be naïve when they insisted there is nothing wrong or sinister about them receiving funds from Soros, his OSI or other organisations linked to them”.
“Surely, what Soros and the OSI have done elsewhere is not going to stop when it comes to Malaysia. Surely too, Soros and the OSI will aim to use the Malaysian NGOs, which they fund, to pursue their regime change agenda,” Shamsul added.
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Yesterday,The Mole reported that a video by Global Witness claiming to prove Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud's alleged involvement in shady land deals has put the veteran leader under the spotlight.
The video by the NGO has stoked anger among Malaysians especially Sarawakians while Opposition leaders are having a field day in criticising the ruling government and demanding for an investigation to be taken on Taib.
Blogger, The Benchmark wrote on this matter questioning whether it was really a 'sting' operation or it was merely a well crafted conspiracy against Taib by his own kin.
"A recent short film by Global Witness has exposed damaging claims and allegations against Sarawak CM Taib Mahmud. The allegations have been given a wide variety of adjectives but basically it is about Taib's alleged corrupt practices and abuse of power."
"The crux or core of the allegation is made by two of Taib's cousins Norlia and Fatimah (daughters of Taib's uncle and former CM & Governor Tun Rahman Yakub). "
"Global Witness claimed the short film, professionally produced in English and B.Malaysia, was a result of a sting operation with hidden camera recorded by a Global Witness operative masquerading as a potential foreign investor. The claim certainly gives a sense of excitement and has drawn great interest in the movie made by the Western crusaders against corruption."
"But was it really a sting operation? Could it be a well crafted conspiracy against Taib by his own kin who have the coveted Chief Minister's seat at sight? I'm sure those who know what happened during (the) Ming Court 1987 won't be surprised with Norlia & Fatimah's latest tune, would they?
The blogger continued with a detailed explanation on the popular but almost forgotten "Ming Court Affair which took place in 1987 involving the late Abdul Rahman Yakub who was Sarawak's former Governor and also its third chief minister.
He wrote : "Well the latest attack against Taib with the help of foreign agents could be the Rahman family's last attempt at the throne. Actually the attack is not purely against Taib per say but it is aimed at derailing Taib's transition plan and sabotaging his chosen successor, whoever that may be."
"Did Taib refuse Rahman's push for his other daughter who is also an MP in the present Government, Norah Tun Rahman, to take the drivers seat?"
"Was Norlia talking about timber concessions in the seemingly 'spy camera' video recording of Global Witness?'
The blogger included an article titled "Timber company’s appeal dismissed" which was published in the Borneo Post early this month.
He said it was reported that four Court of Appeal judges heard the case with important personalities like former Head of State Tun Abdul Rahman Yakub, former assemblyman Salleh Jaffaruddin and one Norlia Abdul Rahman gave evidence on behalf of Keruntum to prove its allegations that the cancellation of the licence was “politically motivated” and carried out in bad faith.
They alleged that the licence was intended to benefit charitable organisations and Orang Ulus of Baram in accordance with a general plan formulated by Abdul Rahman while he was the chief minister.
High Court Judge Datuk Clement Allan Skinner dismissed all these allegations and held that Keruntum had breached Section 2(2) of the Forests Ordinance by transferring and allotting its controlling shares without the consent of the Director of Forests.
The High Court also ruled that the cancellation of the licence was not to serve a political purpose and there was no abuse of power by the authorities when they decided to cancel the licence.
The blogger wrote : "So, do you still think it was Global Witness' successful sting operation ?"
Meanwhile in a Malay Mail report today the Ming Court Affair was also highlighted, where the writer pointed out that the bad blood between Taib and his uncle Abdul Rahman Yakub is well-known.
"It is documented as the Ming Court Affair of 1987 where Abdul Rahman held meetings at the Ming Court Hotel Kuala Lumpur to topple the Taib Government.
But we also know that Taib and Abdul Rahman kissed and made up in 2007.
Or at least they pretended for the interest of the politics since the polls was being held the following year.
But, it could also be a case of name-dropping which happens often and is a problem that beleaguers most leaders."
Abdul Rahman's daughters Norlia and Fatimah were the two women featured in the controversial video where they revealed to the "undercover reporter" about how to obtain swathes of land that belong to the people of Sarawak.
In another report when asked about his cousins (Norlia and Fatimah) Taib responded :
“Do you know that cousin?
“Did you find out what was the relationship between their father and me… is it friendly or not?
“We were fighting at one time. [Surely] that cousin cannot be my most trusted… but it’s up to you.”