Dr Mahathir Mohamad accused the tycoon of funding NGOs for a regime change in Malaysia.
KUALA LUMPUR: American tycoon George Soros is funding several NGOs and companies in Malaysia to influence local politics and gear the country towards a regime change, claimed former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“He tries to control our politics, and select his people to be the prime minister,” Mahathir told reporters here after a forum on “Islam and Women’s Health”
He was commenting on the recent reports by Umno-controlled newspapers that the US-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is funding local NGOs and online news portal Malaysiakini.
TV3 aired a similar report on Thursday suggesting that the foreign funding, such as Soros’ Open Society Foundation, uses the NGOs to topple governments around the world and replace them with Soros’ proxies.
Mahathir said such a move was always done in the name of “promotion of democracy and freedom”.
“So apparently we don’t have freedom here. Soros wants a puppet prime minister, that’s why he wants to see a regime change in Malaysia,” he said.
NGOs such as human rights pressure group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) have been bearing the brunt of criticism over its funding and organisational structure. The government has accused it of being funded by foreign powers to “destabilise the peace of the country”.
On Tuesday, Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that six government agencies are taking action against Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd, the operating entity of Suaram, for breaching five sections of the Companies Act 1965.
Suaram has consistently denied any wrongdoings, while Pakatan Rakyat leaders such as Lim Guan Eng labelled the authorities’ action on Suaram as “clear act of political revenge”.
Suaram is instrumental behind the Scorpene corruption trial in France, a deal which allegedly implicated Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. The case also involved Altantuya Shaariibuu, a Mongolian interpreter and model who was murdered near Kuala Lumpur in 2006.