Human rights non-governmental organisations today said they seek foreign funding because the government had been inconsistent with its support.
"The reality is that the Malaysian government is not known to be a consistent supporter of human rights work in terms of funding, exemplified by the significant cuts to Suhakam's (Human Rights Council) budget, thus forcing us to look elsewhere," the groups said in a statement today.
The joint statement was signed by the All Women’s Action Society (Awam), Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), National Human Rights Society (Hakam) Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower), Tenaganita, the Perak Women for Women Society (PWW), Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, and the Women’s Centre for Change, Penang (WCC).
The eight groups said the local and overseas funding they received were legal under Malaysian laws.
"There is clear documentation of the funds and multiple levels of oversight to ensure transparency and accountability, including laws in the funders’ countries of origin, scrutiny by Bank Negara, and the mandated audits of our organisational accounts," they said.
They added that their work to promote human rights was legitimate and necessary due to the "authoritatian nature" of the current political system, "widepsread corruption" and inequality in society.
They were responding to Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed who said that between 15 to 20 NGOs were being probed for receiving foreign funds.
This was part of a government crackdown on groups who had received funds from groups such as the Open Society Foundations (OSF) with the goal of toppling the government.
The eight NGOs in their statement today such attacks against OSF ignored the organisation's good work.
"The attacks wilfully ignored the work done by OSF to support the safety and participation of some of the most at-risk activists around the world, including in Palestine," they said.- Mkini