Report it if you have proof, Dr M says on BN donation to Sri Lanka war victims

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today told those with proof that the previous government had given money to Tamils in Sri Lanka to lodge a police report, amid ongoing investigations into 12 individuals charged with supporting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) group.

He said the government has no “clear proof” of the money supposedly channelled to the victims of unrest in Sri Lanka.

“If the YB (Sungai Siput) has clear evidence, we ask him to lodge a police report so that action can be taken,” he said during ministerial question time in the Dewan Rakyat today.

He was responding to S Kesavan (PH-Sungai Siput), who asked about reports that Barisan Nasional had given US$1 million to the war victims in Sri Lanka.

DAP veteran and Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang, who raised the matter about two months ago, had asked if this should be construed as support for LTTE.

The 12 individuals, including assemblymen P Gunasekaran and G Saminathan of DAP, claimed trial to charges of terrorism under the Penal Code. They were charged in a Melaka court on Oct 29, two weeks after the end of a crackdown on alleged sympathisers of LTTE.

Edmund Santhara (PH-Segamat) earlier asked if the home ministry should have a list of organisations that Malaysians can and cannot donate to.

Mahathir replied that the police have the authority to implement the law.

“In this case (LTTE), the police are responsible,” he said. “It is up to them to get concrete evidence.”

Santhara had originally asked about several laws still in existence, including the Sedition Act 1948, Prevention of Crime Act 1959, Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, National Security Council Act 2016, Official Secrets Act and Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma).

He said these acts restrict public freedom and were exploited by the previous government.

Mahathir said the government is currently reviewing the laws that need to be amended or abolished, as promised in Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto.

“In this situation, (it is being done) with the relevant ministries with assistance from the Attorney-General’s Chambers,” he added.

He said the government was not abandoning its manifesto, but that a detailed review is needed before a decision is made.

On Sosma, he said the police feel that it is still needed, but acknowledged fears that it could be misused.

“As a responsible government, we need to take all views into account without sidelining the country’s security.”