However, it is ultimately up to the attorney-general to decide whether to take the human rights operating entity to court, says minister Ismail Sabri Yakob.
“The Companies Commission Malaysia (CCM) has no power over Suaram as it is not registered as a society. As such, we are taking action against Suara Inisiatif Rakyat for its misleading accounts,” said Minister of Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said the six agencies, which included CCM, Registrar of Societies (ROS), Bank Negara, the Home Ministry and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commissions (MCMC), were not interested in the source of the organisations’ funds.
Suaram had been under media and government scrutiny lately due to its foreign source of funds, particularly its alleged links to currency speculator George Soros.
“We know where their funds come from, but [the issue is with] the way they report their accounts, which is misleading,” Ismail said, although he refused to elaborate.
The scope of their investigations, he said, would be based on Sections 364(2), 166A(3), 169(14), 167(1), 167(2), and 132(1) of the Companies Act 1965.
But the ultimate decision as to whether Suara Inisiatif Rakyat would be charged in court was with the Attorney General, he said, adding that he would be meeting with AG Abdul Gani Patail later today over the matter.
“Everything looks okay. We’ve already met with the deputy [AG] over this. It’s just a matter of the AG signing yes or no,” he said.
He also said the other agencies, such as ROS and Bank Negara, would be taking action against either Suaram or Suara Inisiatif within their own jurisdictions.
“For example, Suaram has not been registered as a society, so the ROS will take action against them for that,” he added.
‘Suaram violating our right’
Suaram had launched a campaign called “Stand up for Suaram” aimed at mobilising support in the face of “unjust persecution” by the government.
But Ismail said that while Suaram had every right to voice out their dissatisfaction, they should not infringe on the government’s right to take action against the group.
“Suaram is violating our right to perform our duty. They are being one-sided and care only for their own rights.
“When we investigate other companies, they do not demonstrate,” he pointed out, adding that CCM’s probe was lawful as it was done based on a report lodged against the group.
“They say they are the voice of the people, but they are only interested in their voice,” he added, in direct reference to the organisation’s name, “The Voice of Malaysians”.