PETALING JAYA: A former MP has urged Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders to explain their 15-year relationship with the US-based International Republican Institute (IRI) and disclose whether this has affected the coalition’s policy decisions.
Tawfik Ismail, who as an Umno member was Sungai Benut MP from 1986 and 1990, said IRI president Daniel Twining’s recent remarks about the relationship made for an “interesting story”.
“By its own admission, IRI was working with the former opposition during the administration of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib Razak,” he said.
Twining made his remarks at a forum in Washington last month. He said IRI’s efforts had paid off in the recent Malaysian general election, benefiting the US in terms of its current rivalry with China.
Tawfik told FMT the reference to China indicated that Malaysia was “aiding and abetting” a political force in the US, “confirming fears that certain certain parties in the US are using local political parties”.
He recalled PH’s allegations that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government allowed itself to be used by China and added that it could now be accused of hypocrisy.
“Civic groups that questioned BN on its policy decisions in relation to China must now ask the same questions about the PH government in the context of its relationship with the US,” he said.
Security analyst Lam Choong Wah spoke of foreign foundations – “not only Western, but Middle Eastern as well” – operating in Malaysia and said he suspected some of them were pushing for political acceptance of their ideologies.
He said this was why there was a need for a law on the funding of political parties and NGOs linked to political interests.
Following local news reports about Twining’s remarks, the IRI said it had always stayed above partisan politics in its activities in Malaysia and had worked with both PH and BN.
DAP publicity chief Tony Pua said earlier this week that all political parties in Malaysia had participated in training sessions organised by the IRI.
He declined to comment on allegations that the IRI started working with the opposition in 2002 to undermine the BN government.