KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) is wondering why it is being questioned by police over foreign funding, despite the fact that they were cleared of such allegations in 2012.
Its executive director, Eric Paulsen, said investigations into the law reform NGO were done in bad faith.
“We were part of an allegation in 2012 where we were accused, along with Bersih, of wanting to topple the government.
“However, we were not investigated for it and the issue was dropped. The same allegation is being repeated now,” he told reporters today outside Bukit Aman headquarters.
Paulsen stressed that LFL had been “very transparent” when it came to the causes they were championing and dismissed any claims that it was out to topple the government.
“It’s irrational and it’s very clear what Bersih 5 and LFL demands are, which is for free and fair elections and for freedom of speech, which is line with the Constitution.”
Laywer R Sivarasa, who is representing Paulsen, said the investigations by the police today are a follow-up to the raid at Bersih 2.0 office last month.
The PKR lawmaker said the authorities were citing the allegation that LFL received funding from billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.
“This is an old tune that is being played again.”
Sivarasa said there was nothing wrong in receiving funding from overseas and urged the government to focus on the real crime and the corruption that is going on.
“Don’t waste police time on this trivial issue.”
Sivarasa also said two other NGOs, Empower and Suaram, would be called in for investigations tomorrow, while former Bersih 2.0 chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan will be called on Thursday for her statement.
Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Mandeep Singh and Bersih 2.0 members Fadiah Nadwa Fikri and Farhana Abdul Halim were also called in to give their statement for an investigation under Section 124(c) of the Penal Code, which relates to activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy.
Mandeep said this was the third time he had to give his statement to the police regarding overseas funding.
“What is my role in Bersih 5. Do I hold positions in other NGOs? Where does Bersih get its funding from? I told the police that I reserve my right to answer these questions in court.”
Police are continuing their investigations into the Bersih 5 rally which took place on Nov 19.
The Bersih 5 rally had demanded for institutional reforms and the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak.