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Task force to investigate funding for local groups and news portal

Claims that billionaire George Soros is influencing the outcome of the next election surfaces ahead of the Bersih and Red Shirts rallies on November 19

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 November, 2016, 4:42pm
UPDATED : Friday, 04 November, 2016, 4:49pm

Police have formed a task force to investigate claims that billionaire George Soros is funding Malaysia’s civil society groups and a news portal.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said that the five-man team was headed by Bukit Aman CID deputy director (intelligence and operations) Deputy Comm Datuk Zainuddin Ahmad.

He said police were investigating reports on the Internet and from complaints.

“When we have done that, we will start calling in people for statements,” said Khalid, adding that police have identified several people who will be called in.

It was reported that the Open Society Foundation (OSF), founded by Soros, was funding several local organisations to allegedly influence the outcome of the next general election.

In a related development, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) was also investigating similar complaints.

He said the probe was over the alleged channelling of foreign funds to certain news portals, with the intention of overthrowing the demo­cratically elected government in the country.

A report on the probe’s findings would be handed to the Attorney-General for further action, he said.

He said the MCMC had received many complaints on the matter and there was a need to conduct a thorough investigation.

“We are looking at new media. We are identifying the source. We will leave it to the A-G to decide,” he said, according to Bernama.

News portal Malaysiakini reported that its CEO Premesh Chandran and editor-in-chief Steven Gan have denied that the funding was provided with the aim of toppling the Government.

On the upcoming Bersih and Red Shirts rallies planned for Nov 19, the IGP reminded both groups that the mayor has denied their request to assemble at Dataran Merdeka.

“Both are not allowed to have their activities there. Find a different place. We will take action in accordance with the law,” Khalid said.

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