PETALING JAYA: Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim has praised Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros for being one of many American billionaires who “use their money to do good things”.
In his latest blog posting titled “Hail George Soros”, Zaid called Soros a “great man” and cited the latter’s generosity, and interest and commitment in safeguarding basic human rights, liberating people and reducing poverty.
According to Zaid, Soros was the first to come to mind when he was looking to fund a civil liberties organisation he was involved in setting up some time ago.
“I’ve heard a lot about him (Soros), his generosity and great wealth from his books and newspaper reports.
“He is known for contributions towards promoting human rights and education around the world. I even went to New York to visit his Open Society Foundations (OSF) headquarters, but I was unable to see him,” Zaid wrote.
Zaid then congratulated news portal Malaysiakini and electoral watchdog Bersih, both of which, it was recently alleged, had received funding from OSF.
He told the two organisations not to be “too worried” about calls from ministers to investigate why Soros was funding them.
Zaid expressed his admiration for Soros, who started off as a poor Hungarian immigrant who settled in the US and made his way to the top, before donating millions to help set up universities and hospitals in Hungary and other parts of Eastern Europe.
“Soros is a believer in the emancipation of men and women. He believes that freedom and good education are central to the development of human beings all over the world.
“His book, Open Society, explains in great detail how only under a democracy you can establish basic human rights, develop human capital, liberate people and reduce poverty,” he said, adding that there was no reason for anyone to be ashamed to be associated with Soros.
“I say again: do not feel ashamed or guilty that you are receiving financial help from Soros. You have not committed any offence.”
Zaid said it was expected of Umno, and its mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia, to blow the issue to make it seem like a foreigner was interfering in national politics.
He explained that Soros was not interfering in local politics but was merely helping Malaysians to be active participants in how the country was being run, and that the billionaire did not make any money or get any contracts in exchange for his donations.
Zaid then asked local tycoons to emulate the “good work” of Soros and others like him.
“I hope our local billionaires will help Malaysian civil society and volunteer groups to empower the people.”
“You can be a heartless billionaire or you can use your money, as George Soros has, to help the people regain their basic rights. Which would you choose?”
Yesterday, the Malaysian Malay Network (JMM) lodged a police report and handed a 24-page “secret” document to the police, allegedly showing the involvement of a local businessman and Soros in funding Bersih through the OSF, with malicious intent to topple Prime Minister Najib Razak.