Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today claimed the RM2.6 billion said to be donations received by Prime Minister Najib Razak comes without any conditions.
This, he claimed, was very different from foreign funding for local non-government organisations, including the Open Society Foundation (OSF) founded by billionaire George Soros.
"It is very clear that the donation given (to Najib) was without any condition and it was stated in the letter to the prime minister, while foreign funding for NGOs come with certain agenda," the Umno Youth chief told reporters after officiating a seminar on youths against radicalisation organised by Segambut Umno Youth division in Kuala Lumpur.
"Go and see Open Society Foundation (OSF), they have their own agenda.
"They (the recipients) must organise certain programmes to further their cause, so it is very different," said Khairy.
He was asked to comment on the difference between the RM2.6 billion found in Najib's personal accounts, which Umno claims was a donation from a Saudi prince, and foreign funds linked to Soros that is presently under investigation.
Among organisations named in leaked documents as OSF recipients include Bersih, Malaysiakini and the Bar Council, the first two of which had clarified the allegations made.
Bar Council president Steven Thiru, meanwhile, was quoted by Utusan Online today as saying that he "did not care" if the Bar Council had received funds from OSF.
"We do not understand why all this fuss was raised. It is beyond imagination that the use of this fund is a treat to parliamentary democracy.
"Soros is not a prohibited person and the OSF fund may have come from one donor or more," he was quoted as saying, adding that the funds were used for a research project on access to justice among foreign workers in Malaysia.
Thiru: No strings attached
Asked for comment on Utusan's report, Khairy described Thiru's statement as irresponsible and regrettable.
"The OSF's intention is to change the society in a country, so that its people are more reflective of values that it upheld.
"Some of the freedoms (championed) may not be in line with our Eastern values, including in Malaysia," said Khairy.
When contacted, Thiru however clarified that he never said he "did not mind" receiving foreign funds and it could have been a part of the question posed.
"The point I made is that foreign grants for research are not prohibited by our laws.
"In this case, the grant came with no strings or conditions attached, and we could independently use it for the research work," he said. -Mkini