Suaram keeps mum on financial backers


(Malaysian Digest) Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) has remained non-committal on a possible disclosure of their financial backers and contributors.

Suaram staff secretariat Wong Kar Fai told Malaysian Digest that the organization will need to discuss on whether revealing their list of financial backers would be the best move.

“We will discuss the matter and whether it is possible, or even necessary.”

“Whatever it is, a decision will be only be made after the pending inspection conducted by the Companies Commission of Malaysia on us,” he said.

He claimed that in any case, other organizations had already disclosed the names of Suaram’s backers on the internet. He declined to specify who the backers were, but only offered “it’s already everywhere on the internet.”

The organization has had its NGO status come under question this week due to its registration as a private company, as well as having accumulated funds up to RM500,000.

Civil rights group Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) president Azwanddin Hamzah had, in a press conference on Sunday, claimed that checks with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) revealed that Suaram wasn’t an NGO, but instead a company registered under the name Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd.

Azwanddin had claimed that Suaram had earned nearly RM500,000 in 2009 and over RM400,000 in 2010.

He also demanded Suaram clarify whether the profit was derived from local or overseas sources, to verify the contributors as well as their motive for contributing to Suaram.

Following the allegations, CCM offices yesterday paid a “routine inspection” to Suaram’s headquarters in Jalan Gasing, Petaling Jaya to interview staff and check its financial books.

However, they were turned away as they could not produce a legitimate warrant signed by a registrar.

CCM officers were due to return today. However, the officers failed to show up.

At a press conference today, Wong labeled the action as “harassment” and described it as a case of misplaced priorities by the authorities.

He said the visit by CCM lacked credibility as Suaram possessed a sterling 23-year track record and had been submitting records to CCM since 2002.

“Our registration under the Registrar of Companies since 2002 was necessitated by the fact that freedom of association in Malaysia like many other freedoms isn’t realizable. Other NGOs have been forced to similarly register under the ROC.”

“Suaram has flourished all these years via donations by private and public sources and are fully accountable to our funders.”