Malaysia’s Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy has been asked to clarify where the money collected under the Sri Lanka Tamil War Victims Relief Fund in 2009 has gone, the Malaysian media reported today.
G Asoghan, chairman of the Jalan Bagan Luar branch, said Ramasamy must explain what happened to the estimated RM73,000 collected from mainly Malaysian Indians for the fund.
He said his branch was indirectly involved in the issue as it organised the first meeting of the relief fund committee presided by Ramasamy.
Due to his branch’s involvement in the initial stage, Asoghan said many contributors have been questioning him on the status of the funds collected.
“The public wants to know if the money reached the Tamil war victims of Sri Lanka,” he told the Malaysian website Free Malaysia Today.
He said rumors were circulating that the money had been deposited to a personal account of a London-based Sri Lankan called Patmanaban.
He said there were allegations that Patmanaban has since been detained by British authorities for having links with terrorists and for money laundering.
“There are numerous claims, allegations and queries about the fund. We can’t possibly answer for Ramasamy.
“As a responsible party deputy secretary-general and state deputy chairman, Ramasamy must come clean on the issue to safeguard party interests.
“This is not a small matter and he can’t go on being quiet. He’s got to clear the air once and for all to prevent DAP from being accused of sponsoring terrorists and terrorism,” said Asoghan.
Several contributors are contemplating lodging reports with the police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on the issue if Ramasamy fails to explain publicly soon.
Asoghan said he had openly called on Ramasamy to “clear the air” only after failing to obtain replies from the party leadership.
Penang DAP launched its Sri Lankan Tamils Relief Fund to help ethnic Tamil civilians injured in the fighting between the military and Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009.
Ramasamy in a news report in 2009, said the campaign was endorsed by the state government.
“This campaign is being launched on humanitarian grounds and is not racially-motivated,” he said.
Efforts to reach Ramasamy today for comments were futile as he did not reply to calls and text messages.
DAP Penang chairman Chow Kon Yeow has claimed that he knew very little of the details of the fund, except that “it had been sent out.”