Abdul Rahman said Rafizi should stick by the law even when making public exposure (Graphic by Dayang Norazhar/The Mole)
KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional lawmaker Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said there is nothing wrong for anyone to publicly expose any wrongdoings but it must be done according to the law.
Speaking to The Mole Abdul Rahman was commenting on the charge against Parti Keadilan Rakyat strategic director Rafizi Ramli and a bank employee Johari Mohamad for violating the Banking and Financial Institutions Act, 1989 (BAFIA) on Wednesday.
Abdul Rahman said: “You need to observe the law even if you are doing public exposures on wrongdoings.”
The MP for Kota Belud explained: “Even the police need to obtain their proof according to legal procedure. For example a DNA sample will not be accepted as evidence in a court case if it’s proven that it was obtained wrongfully.”
“When you think you have the proof that needs to be made public, go ahead. But you should find the proof by using legal means and make sure your expose does not violate any other laws,” Abdul Rahman added.
Rafizi was charged for violating Section 97(1) of BAFIA when he disclosed four customer account profiles detailing the balance summary of National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd (NFCorp), the National Meat and Livestock Sdn Bhd, Agroscience Industries Sdn Bhd and NFCorp chairman Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail, to two individuals identified as Yusuf Abdul Alim and Erle Martin Carvalho.
However, a legal group called Lawyers for Liberty in a statement condemned the charge, saying: "The act of criminalising the whistleblowers under the BAFIA is tainted with mala fide (bad faith), aimed to suppress evidence of government-linked corruption and protect other perpetrators from being brought to justice."
Responding to some views stating that BAFIA is used by the Attorney-General to prosecute Rafizi instead of investigating the allegations of corruptions done by NFC, Abdul Rahman said: “BAFIA exists in the first place to protect bank customers.”
“Its intention is to protect account holder’s privacy and information from being violated from other people.”
When pointed out that the subsection 97(1) of BAFIA prohibited information from being made public, the MP for Kota Belud said: “not all information is confidential. But in this case, Rafizi exposed one’s bank documents and confidential details.”
“He could have just kept such information and urge the authority to act. He should not be disclosing it.”
Asked whether Rafizi is protected under the Malaysia’s Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 (WBPA), Abdul Rahman said: “Rafizi is not a whistleblower the moment he publicised all the information he had to public.”
“He should follow the proper procedures accorded under the whistleblower protection.”
Blogger Datuk Ahirudin Attan in his post shared an article written by a source stating that Rafizi had breached several sections under the WBPA.
Among the offences included: The disclosure was not made to any enforcement agency – breach of section 6 of WBPA; The information disclosed was made public – breach of section 8 of WBPA; His identity is known to all and sundry – breach of section 8 of WBPA;
He had revealed information which is prohibited by BAFIA from being made public– subsection 97(1) of BAFIA and section 6 of WBPA. Even under section 8 of the WBPA the disclosure of improper conduct cannot be disclosed or ordered to be disclosed in any court of law.
The writer said the whole affair is merely an attempt by the opposition to disparage the government, not a sincere effort to root out corruption.
Selangor Times reported several opposition leaders including Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua condemned the charge against Rafizi, describing it as "politically-motivated" and against the spirit of the WBPA itself.