Lim clarifies DAP link with US IRI

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN

DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng (picture) has admitted that the political party has had contacts with the International Republican Institute (IRI), a US-based think tank, on training courses for its members.

In a statement to debunk his initial denial of any cooperation with the IRI, Lim — who is also Finance Minister — said party members had attended courses by the IRI on technical issues under the auspices of understanding democratic process related to polling and communications.

However, he highlighted that DAP was not alone in having such arrangements as the IRI had also conducted the same courses for both Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Harapan component parties.

Lim’s statement came after IRI president Daniel Twining told a forum last month that the organisation had worked to “strengthen” Malaysia’s thenOpposition parties since 2002.

While the IRI has not taken credit for the fall of the BN government in the May 9 election, Twining did suggest that a Pakatan Harapan-led administration was beneficial for the US.

Apart from Lim, other Pakatan Harapan leaders have also defended their partnership with the Republican-linked institute and said their affiliations were confined to bipartisan leadership training sessions.

PKR VP Nurul Izzah Anwar said it was not unusual for the IRI to work with Opposition parties at the time as it had also worked with BN and Gerakan. She has instead pointed to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) letter for any inklings of conspiracy to bring down the government.

DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua had also made similar claims on the IRI partnership.

“Regardless of whether they were from Umno, Gerakan, MCA or DAP, they were all involved as the training had to do with communications and the Internet,” he said.

Alluding to MP Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak — (BNPekan) who had allegedly sent a letter requesting support from the CIA, Lim said “unlike some extremists” there was nothing wrong for Umno to have contacts with the Communist Party of China that its leaders were invited to the party’s top meetings.

“Open communication should always be encouraged to promote understanding based on clear principles. However, having direct contacts with the CIA explicitly seeking aid for foreign intervention to sabotage the people’s mandate in the recent general elections, is not only untenable and unacceptable, but a betrayal of our country’s sovereignty,” Lim said.

In response to the allegation, Umno had called for an independent party to investigate claims that IRI had meddled in local politics.

Umno information chief Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah said in a statement on Monday that since the judiciary and other enforcement agencies are under the government’s control, a special task force must be established to ensure a fair investigation.