Suaram cannot restrict people from political parties to champion their cause (Graphic by Dayang Norazhar/The Mole)
KUALA LUMPUR: Suaram’s former co-ordinator S.Arutchelvan said there is no restriction for politicians to be a secretariat member in the human rights group.
Arutchelvan however maintained that the group is not affiliated with any political parties.
Speaking to The Mole the secretary-general of Parti Sosialis Malaysia said: “there is no restriction during the AGM to stop politicians to become a part of the secretariat member.”
“Still, when a politician is involved with Suaram, the person must understand that he is working with a NGO and must put their political agenda aside,” he added.
Asked about the involvement of several Suaram leaders such as its director Cynthia Gabriel during the gathering with Friends Of Pakatan Rakyat at London in 2010, Arutchelvan said he could not comment on the matter as he was unaware about it.
A blog post at Apanama2020 published some photos of the talk which was attended by Cynthia and Parti Keadilan Rakyat leaders such as Tian Chua and Dr Xavier Jayakumar.
When questioned on Suaram’s involvement with Pakatan as there were a lot of issues highlighted by the group which had been championed by opposition leaders including the Scorpene scandal Arutchelvan said: “We could not stop politicians from pledging support to the cause we advocate.”
Previously Cynthia has denied allegations that the human rights group is closely linked to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).
Cynthia told The Mole PKR leaders such as Tian Chua and Elizabeth Wong had left the group after they were elected as law makers and that they were no longer involved in Suaram.
Meanwhile Irene Fernandez who is a founding member of Suaram also shared similar opinion and denied speculations that the group has been used as an opposition tool.
“Firstly you need to understand that Suaram exists way before PKR was established,” she said.
“I have been in Suaram long before I joined PKR and became its supreme council member. I don’t see why I cannot join a political party as these two groups are of different entities,” Irene added.
“Suaram has nothing to do with PKR. It is up to the party or its members to join us or to support the cause which we have highlighted. “
“BN leaders and members are also welcomed to join us so that we can work together in achieving our objectives in eradicating corruption as well as in human rights’ issues.”
When questioned on the attendance of many Pakatan leaders during the Scorpene 2.0 dinner last week, Irene maintained the fundraising dinner was open to all.
Asked to comment on the perceived impression that Suaram is anti-government, Irene said: “We are not anti-government or pro-opposition. We are only critical of the government and leadership, that’s it.”
She also cited legal constraints in the French law that disabled the group to furnish the evidence in the on-going Scorpene case.
It was reported on Tuesday that a Malaysian who was alleged by Suaram to be involved in negotiationg the submarine purchase Jasbir Singh Chahl denied that he was subpoenaed by the French court.