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Lets be clear on Suaram

2 Comments

Is it wrong to receive foreign funding per se? No.

Is it wrong for Suaram to be political? No.

Is it wrong to receive foreign funding for political activities? You decide below.

What is the value in receiving foreign funding for interference in a country’s self determination? Is it wrong and against human rights? Lets look at the practices the world over.

In US, under Foreign ;Agents ;Registration ;Act ;(“FARA”), ; ;it is illegal to contribute to activities in connection whether direct or indirect, with an election. The law states:

“It shall be unlawful for a foreign national directly or ;through any other person to make any contribution of
money or other thing of value, or to promise expressly or ;impliedly to make any such contribution, in connection ;with an election to any political office or in connection ;with any primary election, convention, or caucus held to ;select candidates for any political office; or for any person ;to solicit, accept, or receive any such contribution from a ;foreign national.”

The US Federal Election Commission Act also has similar provisions to affect the prohibition on foreign contributions. ;

The rationale for the law is essentially that only citizens can determine the political self determination of the country. Foreigners have no right to interfere in domestic politics. It is to maintain a nation’s sovereignty and independent self determination.

Is this for real here and not merely an instance in the past?

Since the watergate scandals, the investigations have shown many US companies being involved in foreign contributions to affect a change in government and its policies for favourable positions. An instance was their US MNC’s involvement in replacing Salvador Allende as Chile’s president to push for a favourable investment regime. These acts were wrong even in the US so much so that the US even enacted a law against this practices called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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Is the US the only countries having this law?

No, Japan, Spain, Mexico, Canada, China etc have blanket prohibitions. While other countries have less restrictive prohibitions. India for example is very stringent. Their Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, stipulates that not only foreign contribution to political parties and “organisation of a political nature” are prohibited but aslo to “columnist, editors and owners of newspapers” and government servants.

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So is the value against acceptance of foreign contribution for “political purposes” proper?

In my view, it is. It is a right value to oppose acceptance of foreign contribution for “political purposes”. What constitute “political purposes” is subjective. What is clear is that there should not be contribution which goes directly or indirectly into our national or local elections. But to expand this to the like of India’s case makes sense also. For example the extension of prohibition of foreign contribution to “organisation of political nature”. (its not easy but US is grappling with PACs). Also to extend the prohibition to media which plays a major role in a country.The country’s media must promote a nation’s interest above all interest. But this is fraught with difficulty as we need to distinguish from any political party’s interest. But the US and UK media seems to be able to handle these. In times of war, the media supported the troops and governmnent wholly above else. So its doable. ;

;So what about suaram?

Suaram is clearly political. No right minded person can call Suaram’s pursuit of scorpene case as human rights. They’re trying to prove Najib as corrupt. The funny thing is that if they did receive foreign funding for such purpose this would likely be fouled of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Funny man this Suaram. So back to the point. The Act of receiving money from Soros is not wrong (though I find soros and his ilk must be regulated). Nor receiving money from other foreign sources. But if they did use the money for campaign purposes or to bring down the government especially by false allegation I think this is absolutely wrong. But since Suaram is actually political and Sivarasa actually an exco member of selangor, Suaram has the onus to be transparent and prove it to us.

Don’t argue its not wrong to receive foreign funding. No one is arguing that except Suaram (and their ilk). But the question is did Suaram use this money for sivarasa’s previous and for his future campaign or for bringing down the government by false allegations. Theres mala fide and bad faith in masking human rights for “poltical purposes”. But if Suaram proves the money is not used for such purpose then they are definitely not wrong. Government should back off then. Until then, can Suaram be transparent and live up to its human rights name.

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2 thoughts on “Lets be clear on Suaram

  1. Hey! As a start, I find the above write-up fair, balanced and acceptable. The Authorities must now PROVE beyond reasonable doubts that the foreign funds received were used by SUARAM for domestic political purposes directly or indirectly – really it is NOT for SUARAM to prove that it did not use the funds for domestic political purposes.

    • In terms of onus of proof I can agree with you and thus the need to investigate. The better way is for Suaram to come clean rather than sidetracking the issue. Well see how it develops.

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