The inevitable has arrived. The Sessions Court convicted Rafizi Ramli and a former bank clerk, Johari Mohamad for an offence under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA) for exposing the bank account details related to the National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd and its Chairman, Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail, and sentenced the duo to 30 months imprisonment.
Many supporters and perhaps sympathizers have decried the Sessions Court’s decision as being unfair and unjust; punishing instead of protecting the whistleblower. Many however, are unaware that there are laws in Malaysia governing the protection of whistleblowers.
Under the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 (“WPA”), the disclosure regarding the commission of an offence must be made to an enforcement agency before protection can be afforded to the whistleblower. The Act grants whistleblowers i) protection of confidential information, ii) immunity from civil and criminal action, and iii) protection against detrimental action.
Further, under BAFIA, disclosure of confidential information pertaining to the commission of an offence to the police is permitted and would not attract criminal liability.
There are good reasons why there are secrecy provisions governing banking information. The main being to secure local and foreign investors’ confidence in our banking and financial services. Compromising the privacy of banking details will also result in the public turning away from the banking and financial institutions.
Consider your banking information for e.g. bank balance or transaction history being freely revealed by irresponsible individuals for their own benefit and neither the authorities nor the bank does anything to prevent or stop it. Wouldn’t you be angered by such conduct? Wouldn’t you lose confidence and distrust the banking and financial system?
Being a member of Parliament, it is a logical assumption that Rafizi is well aware of the existence of the WPA and the secrecy provisions relating to banking details under BAFIA. However, instead of resorting to the proper legal channels to whistleblow by approaching the relevant enforcement agencies and obtaining protection, he took the risk of being prosecuted by leaking confidential documents to members of the public.
Surely, it can be argued that it was an exercise to bolster his political image instead of honestly intending to whistleblow the commission of an offence. Such conduct, especially by a parliamentarian not only reeks of recklessness but displays grave irresponsibility – one that does not respect and abide by the law.
What else can be said: Rafizi took a gamble, and he paid for it.
Recently Rafizi Ramli was convicted for an offence under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA) and sentenced to 30 months jail. Rafizi was charged and prosecuted for using Bank Statements of the National Feedlot Corp (NFC) in March 2012 to accuse NFC of misappropriating a RM250m (intended for the business of cattle breeding) to purchase luxury condos.
Upon his conviction by the sessions court, Rafizi has made a public posting claiming to be a 'whistleblower' and has asked for public simpathy. He went further by asking (as per his usual MO) for public donations.
Now if NFC was truly hiding any misdeeds surely it wouldn't take the risk of suing Rafizi as actual facts of what actually took place would be laid bare for all to see. NFC did sue and in the end Rafizi was proven to be merely FALSE public accusations i.e. lying in public.
Prior to Rafizi's expose the Public Accountant's Committee (PAC) was already inquiring into the matter. Here are some actual facts of the matter:
1. It was a soft loan approved by the ministry of Agriculture. The minister of agriculture at the time was TS Muhyddin Yassin
2. Delay in the building of the abattoir;
3.Access roads to the cattle farms.
4. NFC was (and is still) requied to repay the loan with interest.
Rafizi may be many things but it has been factually proven that being a whistleblower is not one of them.
A whistleblower is one who exposes an actual matter which is unknown to the public. Expose's are supposed to reveal matters which are based on truth which cannot be disputed. If Rafizi's expose and accusations of NFC were true..how did he end up losing a defamation suit by NFC?
It ought to be noted that the NFC was the first 'expose' by Rafizi which propelled him into the limelight. It did seem initially that here was someone who would put himself at risk to reveal the truth. However after the NFC expose Rafizi has proven over the years that everytime he apparently reveals some matter of controversy it proves to be nothing but baseless accusations upon which time and again Rafizi has been sued and has even had to retract his statements.
It has now come full circle that the matter which he first used as the expose to put hin into the spotlight has been proven to be a lie which has come back to bite him. Irony in the fullest sence. Defaming is not whistleblowing. Rafizi has proven to be one who only defames others. Whistleblower? Rafizi is definitely NOT.
NFC acted upon Rafizi's accusations by suing him for defamation. NFC won the suite in which Rafizi was ordered to pay RM300k in damages.
Rafizi cannot claim that there was injustice because he is in the opposition as in recent years it has been clearly shown that the court is impartial. This is examplified by Anwar Ibrahim's suite against Khairy Jamaluddin (KJ) and also Wan Asri (Papa Gomo). Anwar won both suites and both KJ and Papa Gomo were ordered to pay damages.
If Rafizi had truly 'nothing to hide' why did he not straight forwardly fight the charges against him? Why (similarly to Rafizi's boss Anwar) stretch the case for 6 long years with countless preliminary applications and postponments? When the case has concluded Rafizi then claims it was the most difficult 6 years for. In actual fact the 6 years were of his own doing.
Since Tun Zaki was the CJ followed by Tun Ariffin Zakaria and now Tun Raus the courts have gone through great pains to ensure that there are no more delays in court cases. The Judiciary now has shown itself to be proficient in ensuring there are no backlog in cases. The Judiciary will no longer tolerate delays as it will hamper justice, hence the meaning of 'justice delayed is justice denied'.
Due to Rafizi's position, his counsels attempts in delaying his case regularly have been tolerated. Not everyone would recieve such privileges. Basically Rafizi himself delayed justice.
Without fail, Rafizi has claimed he has been fighting for the truth and for the rakyat.
As expected Rafizi has conclusively asked the Public to provide donations. Rafizi has regularly used this type of excuse to ask for public funding. Ironically he claims never to have taken money from the public.
It must be remembered that millions in public donations to Rafizi in the past have been proven to have gone into his privately owned company. The same company which supplies manpower to another Rafizi vehicle Invoke. Invoke to this day has not really proven any creditable, noteworthy or even truth contribution to the public. It actually begs the question as to what is Invoke's actual purpose for existing? That is aside from being provided manpower from Rafizi's company which recieves money from the public.
Rafizi does not deserve any simpathy let alone public donations.
The public should not waste money into a person who only has proven to merely defamingly accuse others of wrongdoing. The only reason that his defamatory remarks recieve attention is because if his position as an MP. If Rafizi was truly a champion of the people, the millions he recieved previously could have been used for beneficial social programs for the rakyat. Instead it has gone into his cause which is no better than gossip magazine.
At least from time to time the gossip magazines do get it right. Which is never the case for Rafizi.