Gerakan raps Nurul over IRI claim, PSM tells Pua it didn't fall into US trap

Gerakan has accused PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah of making a baseless and unfounded allegation that it received training from the Washington-based International Republican Institute (IRI).

“Gerakan has never undergone any training conducted by the IRI nor did we receive any form of cooperation or assistance from the IRI, in the past and present.

“Gerakan is committed to upholding and enhancing electoral democracy. We are against any hostile foreign interference to keep our domestic choices free and fair,” party vice-president A Kohilan Pillay said in a statement today.

Kohilan, the former deputy foreign minister, also urged Nurul to be more circumspect in her words and actions as a leader.

He said it is important that members across the political spectrum commit to the efforts to curtail and stop the spread of political disinformation.

On the same note, Kohilan (photo) said not all nonpartisan capacity building support to political parties by foreign-based organisations, institutes and foundations should be regarded as a threat to the electoral process.

“Malaysia must remain open to the world without reducing our sovereignty or compromising our identity,” he added.

In defending Pakatan Harapan's working relationship with IRI, Nurul had Gerakan in her claim that the institute worked with BN as well.

Gerakan was a BN component party until its exit from the coalition on June 23.

Harapan leaders have dismissed claims that the coalition collaborated with IRI ahead of the May 9 general election to topple BN whereas the former ruling coalition's leaders, including ex-premier Najib Abdul Razak, have called for a probe into the matter.

Najib also claimed that the Harapan-IRI link was worse than the CIA letter controversy, which led certain quarters to accuse his administration of treason.

IRI has also denied working with the previous opposition to undermine BN. It also claimed to have worked with BN parties.

PSM: We are not so naive

In a related development, PSM refuted DAP lawmaker Tony Pua's claim that all political parties in Malaysia regardless of allegiance had participated in IRI-organised training sessions.

Responding to this in a Facebook posting, PSM said it is not so naive not to read into the US government's agenda.

“It's no secret how US officials, media, diplomats, embassy work to influence the outcome of strategic countries' in-house democratic processes.

“While some political party members or even CSOs would get excited when they get invited by IRI, National Endowment for Democracy (NED) or even when they were given the opportunity to rub shoulders with the previous US President Barack Obama when he was in Malaysia, PSM in no way would get ourselves duped into such antics,” it stated.

IRI president Daniel Twining had told a forum in Washington on July 11 that his group has been working to “strengthen” opposition parties in Malaysia, but did not provide details.

Twining claimed he met senior Harapan officials after the fall of the BN government in the “Prime Minister's office.”

However, he said the IRI does not claim credit for BN’s downfall, and instead blamed it on the former ruling coalition's excesses, corruption and abuse of power.

IRI is one of four think tanks bankrolled by the NED, which is funded by the US Congress.

Although the four groups were supposed to help spread democratic ideals globally, IRI has often been singled out for training opposition or coup leaders in Honduras, Haiti, Cuba, Egypt and Tunisia, among other countries.






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