Press Statement: 2nd August 2012
SUARAM Condemns the Selective Prosecution of Whistleblowers
SUARAM condemns the selective prosecution of Rafizi Ramli and Johari Mohamad under the Banking and Financial Institution Act 1989. People have witnessed how the government have habitually used piece-meal legislations to empower and protect themselves and their cronies to silent the people whenever its interests are challenged.
The arrest of Rafizi Ramli and Johari Mohamad at 6:50AM today is not surprising at all. They were arrested and brought to the court for a charge under the Sections 97 and 112(1)(c) of the Banking and Financial Institution Act 1989 respectively for disclosing National Feedlot Corporation’s (“NFC”) financial accounts. The timing of the arrest was spot on and the police and Bank Negara officers deserve a tap on their shoulders from the Malaysian government for their “efficiency”.
The surprise, however, was the prosecution of whistleblowers whom had disclosed credible evidence which formed the grounds for criminal prosecution against Mohamad Salleh, the chairman of NFC.
Does the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 protect whistleblowers?
Does the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 protect whistleblowers? If it does then the Act is full of loopholes! What is apparent is that in order to prosecute the perpetrator of an offence, the whistleblower must go down with the perpetrator. One would wonder what would potentially befall the whistleblowers should they decide to break the silence when the corrupts corrupt absolutely. No wonder, despite the Act had come into effect since 2010, Malaysia still ranks 60th in anti-graft watchdog Transparency International Corruption Perception Index in 2011, dropped 4 spots from the previous year.
The prosecution of Rafizi and Johari is a clear indication of the government’s new venture into legalizing and protecting corruption and cronyism. It appears that informers who disclose matters of public interest like wastage of public funds would be a threat to the ‘anti’-corruption campaign.
History has shown us that there are always loopholes for the guilty ones to flee scot-free. One instance is Perimekar Sdn Bhd and Terasasi Sdn Bhd . Despite evidence revealed in the Paris (Scorpene Scandal) Papers, there has not been one single inspection conducted on them instead, SUARAM as the whistleblower is being harassed by the Company Commission of Malaysia.
On-going campaign to silent dissent and any public interest disclosures at all costs
If one would to look at the zeitgeist of Najib’s administration, it would be the landmark on-going campaign to silence dissent and any public interest disclosures at all costs, even if it violates the supposed doctrine of separation of powers and the people’s fundamental freedoms.
Brave men and women who wish to stand up for the rule of law, for democracy and for human rights are today subjected to constant threats and intimidation. This prosecution demonstrates the ruling government’s growing paranoia and the fact the government is determined to rule by fear.
SUARAM would like to put on record our strong support for whistleblowers who disclose the government and their cronies’ mismanagement of public funds and tax payers’ hard earned monies. We strongly condemn the powers that be and its powerful mechanisms to punish the innocence in order to protect the guilty ones.