Malaysian govt. donation to Tamil Forum questioned

Sri Lanka is seeking details of how funds given to the Tamil Forum of Malaysia (TFM) by the Malaysian Government has been spent and the names of NGOs engaged in channeling such funds and the projects funded.

High Commissioner K. Godage, Sri Lanka’s envoy to Kuala Lumpur who will be ending his assignment and returning to Colombo shortly following a recall, earlier wrote to Tan Sri Mohamed Radzi Abdul Rahman, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in KL regarding news reports saying that the Malaysian Government had given US$ 1 million to the Tamil Forum of Malaysia.

Godage has said that the Sri Lanka Government takes the view that the Tamil Forum is a front organization of the LTTE which is pursuing the objective of establishing a separate state in Sri Lanka and that it works towards this goal with the Global Tamil Forum.

He says that the news report in the “The Star” on August 20, 2012 which he had enclosed has quoted Dr. N. Lyngkaran, President of the Tamil Forum of Malaysia saying that the forum “will ensure that the money spent was audited accordingly and that a report will be submitted to the Registrar of Companies.

They have also said that they engaged in relief work in the North and East of Sri Lanka.

“I do hope that the Malaysian Government would obtain from them the details with regard to the work they had done. I make this request as we have received reports from reliable sources that much money received from well meaning sources collected on the pretext of implementing development projects had been diverted to the LTTE front organizations particularly in Europe and the US to fund anti-Sri Lanka campaigns abroad,” Godage has said.

Following his first letter of September 7, 2012, Godage has written again on October 5 saying that he has been requested to find out details of how the money was given to the Tamil Forum of Malaysia and the names of the NGOs that has been engaged in channeling funds and the projects.

“My government wishes to have the information to ensure that such money has not been used for purposes inimical to the interest of the country,” Godage has said.

“You would no doubt appreciate that the granting of monies to foreign organizations could be abused and used for purposes claimed, constituting interference in the internal affairs of another state.”

He has further said that the High Commission is of the view that humanitarian projects and aid missions, no matter how their good intentions may well be, should be free from any kind of external influence.

Hence it is advisable to channel such funding through proper diplomatic channels, he has said.

According to a report in the “New Straits Times” of June 26, the Malaysian Government’s contribution to TFM will go towards helping 1,700 widows and orphans in Sri Lanka who lost their loved ones during the civil war.

Datuk M. Saravanan, Deputy Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister, had said that he hoped that the donation would be the starting point of a relationship between the Government and TFM.

“TFM has been helping Sri Lankan Tamils for a long time and this contribution is an acknowledgement of their work all this time,” the Deputy Minister has said.

“I have to admit that the amount is small, considering that it is to help 1,700 families, but I believe it is a good start.”

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