We’ll return RM50,000 donation linked to 1MDB, says Penang Press Club

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has called on journalists’ groups to voluntarily return money they had received from 1MDB’s charitable arms.

GEORGE TOWN: A journalists’ group today said it will hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss refunding a RM50,000 donation received from a 1MDB-linked charitable body in 2013.

Penang Press Club president Wong Soon Eng said it was willing to return the funds received but would require a formal committee decision to do so.

“We will go through the proper channels to return the money to the relevant parties. A motion to refund the money will be tabled at our meeting this Thursday,” he told FMT.

Wong’s comment comes after Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had called on journalists’ groups to voluntarily return money they had received from 1MDB’s charitable arms.

Lim, while not naming the groups, said they should return the money or risk having their accounts frozen by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) which is investigating the 1MDB affair.

This is the second time that the former Penang chief minister had raised the donations issue, the first being last October.

In April 2013, it was reported that the Penang Press Club, the Penang Journalists and Photographers Association (Pewaju) and the Journalists’ Union of North Malaya (JUNM) had received RM50,000 each from the 1Malaysia Penang Welfare Club (1MPWC).

The journalists’ groups here consist of members from primarily the Chinese-language newspapers.

The money was reportedly part of RM2.2 million given by 1MPWC to 106 non-governmental organisations.

Pewaju declined to comment as it had clarified last year that it had given the RM50,000 to two charitable causes in 2015, as reported by Malaysiakini.

JUNM has yet to respond to FMT’s queries for comment.

The 1MPWC had given the handouts to the journalists’ groups with no strings attached, Malaysiakini reported.

On a separate occasion, also in April 2013, the 1MPWC gave RM340,000 to 29 Penang-based non-governmental organisations, with the Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) receiving the highest amount at RM200,000, The Star reported.