By Md Izwan
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak admitted tonight that he once had a meeting with currency trader and philanthropist George Soros, the man blamed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for Malaysia’s financial troubles in the 1990s and by Umno politicians recently for funding a plot to destabilise the country.
The Umno president said he had met Soros in New York on the request of the currency trader.
He added that there was nothing wrong with the meeting, pointing out that Dr Mahathir had also previously done the same thing.
“Yes, I met with Soros. It was only to fulfil his request,” Najib told reporters tonight after chairing a Barisan Nasional (BN) supreme council meeting.
The Umno president declined, however, to reveal details of the meeting.
“It is not a problem meeting with Soros. As long as it is not done with the intention of bringing down the government and it was not about getting any financial aid, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that,” he said.
Last week, Dr Mahathir said that a vote for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) would be a vote for Soros and recolonisation.
In an opinion piece published in the New Sunday Times, Dr Mahathir pointed out that both his sacked deputy Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Soros were fond of the term “civil society”, suggesting a link between both men.
“A vote for the opposition is a vote for Soros, the rogue currency trader.
“It certainly will not be for Malaysia and its interests. If there are Malaysians who wish to be re-colonised it is their choice.
“But I believe Malaysians would not want to be stooges of foreigners,” Dr Mahathir wrote in the Umno-controlled weekly.
The country’s longest-serving prime minister said Soros was well-known for funding the Open Society Georgia Foundation which subsequently led to nine ministers nominated by the financier to become members of the current Georgian government.
“So why is Soros financing Malaysiakini, a Malaysian NGO?
“Obviously, it is in order to achieve regime change, to put his nominees as prime minister and ministers in the Malaysian government.”
“My view is of Soros is that he is still a rouge currency trader and he compounds this evil by using the money to put his kind of people to rule the countries targeted by him.
“And Malaysia is obviously one of his targets,” Dr Mahathir told the New Sunday Times.
Earlier this month, Malaysian NGOs seen critical of the government were attacked with media reports alleging that they had received foreign funding from Soros, including Malaysiakini and the outspoken Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram).
Meanwhile, other NGOs receiving funds from the currency trader, such as the Malaysian AIDS Council, remain unscathed by these accusations.